Is your home safe from radon?
Radon is the largest environmental cancer risk and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable.
More than 40 percent of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas. State health officials say every home should be tested. To emphasize the importance of radon testing, Governor Mark Dayton has declared January "Radon Action Month" in Minnesota.
More than 40 local public health agencies around the state have partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to make more than 8,000 radon test kits available to local residents at low or no cost.
Radon is odorless, colorless and tasteless, so the only way for homeowners to know if their home has radon is to test.
Testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes three to five days. Most test kits are priced at less than $20 and are available at city and county health departments, many hardware stores or directly from radon testing laboratories. Discounted test kits can also be purchased online at www.radon.com.
The best time to test is in the winter, but testing can be done year-round. It is especially important to test during real-estate transactions. Radon tests can be easily incorporated into a home inspection.
Tests should be done in the lowest level of the home that is frequently occupied. Tests should not be done in laundry or utility rooms, kitchens or bathrooms.
Further action can be taken based upon test results. If a home's level is more than 4 PiC/L, consider verification testing and consult MDH's list of certified radon mitigation contractors at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/mitigation.html.
For details on how to obtain a kit, contact a local public health agency or MDH. A list of participating health agencies can be found on the MDH website at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/rncontacts.html.
For more information on radon testing and mitigation, visit www.health.
state.mn.us/radon or call the MDH Indoor Air Unit at (651) 201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050.