Buying a house? Test for radon gas
An estimated one in three Minnesota homes harbors high levels of radon. However, testing for the radioactive gas before buying or selling a home can lead to reduced health risks, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, with more than 21,000 deaths attributable to radon each year. It is the greatest environmental cancer risk and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Yet radon exposure is largely preventable.
MDH estimates that one in three Minnesota homes have radon levels that pose a considerable health risk of lung cancer over many years of exposure. Homes with high radon levels are fixable, but first they must be tested.
Testing for radon during the sale of a home is an opportune time:
The home seller can test for radon before putting the house on the market to ensure that it has safe levels for a potential buyer
The buyer can ask that a test be done during the home inspection period.
If high levels of radon are present, mitigating it can be handled during the home sale similar to other required home repairs.
A radon bill introduced in the legislature — the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act — would require that buyers in residential real estate transactions receive an MDH publication on radon and a radon warning statement. If passed, this bill is expected to raise radon awareness.
In addition, the bill would require the seller to provide full disclosure of radon on the property. This would include whether testing has been done; any test results; whether radon mitigation has been done, and records and reports associated with any testing and mitigation.
A third-party radon tester, such as a certified radon measurement professional, can ensure that a radon test is done correctly and provide both parties with a report of the results.
Anyone interested in radon mitigation should consult MDH’s list of certified radon mitigation contractors at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/mitigation.html.
For more information on radon testing and mitigation visit http://www.health.state.mn.us/radon or call the MDH Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050.