We’re well into January, which is Radon Action Month, but it’s not too late to acknowledge the occasion and, perhaps, even get your home tested if you’ve never done so.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the number of homes that have been fixed or mitigated to relieve high radon levels in the past year doubled over previous years — largely because of a new state law, health officials say. The law went into effect Jan. 1, 2014, and requires more detailed disclosure and information be provided to buyers about radon during Minnesota home sales. The majority of the additional home fixes occurred as part of real estate transactions, according to data collected by the MDH from contractors. Through the first nine months of 2014, almost 2,400 homes had work done to reduce radon levels. The average for 2012 and 2013 fewer than 1,300.
The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act requires sellers to inform buyers if their home has been tested for radon and, if so, what the levels are and whether steps have been taken to mitigate the radon. Sellers also must provide a warning statement and two-page publication to the buyer.
More than 21,000 cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the US, where it is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
About 2 in 5 Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas, which is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It is a natural radioactive gas that occurs in Minnesota soils and can enter homes through cracks or openings in walls or foundations.
Radon tests can be incorporated into a home inspection, though the law does not require it.
The best time to test is during the heating season, though it can be done year-round. Kits are available through city and county health departments, hardware stores or radon testing laboratories. To find a list of where to get test kits or to find more information about Minnesota radon contacts, click here. You can also visit www.radonmonth.org.
This article was written by Kevin Allenspach from St. Cloud Times, Minn. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.