Saturday, January 7, 2017

National Radon Action Month

Keep your home and family safe all year by testing for radon. The health risks from radon are mostly preventable by testing homes and fixing radon problems. About two in five Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas, and this is higher in Dakota County.
Radon is gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. It occurs naturally in the ground. It can enter into all kinds of homes through cracks or openings in walls or foundations. The only way for residents to know if their home has radon is to test for it. 
More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the U.S. Radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. 
Testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes three to five days. The best time to test is during the winter, but testing can be done year-round. If you are a Dakota County resident, you can pick up a test kit at the Dakota County Public Health Department in Apple Valley. There is a limit of one kit per person. Dakota County provided 391 test kits to residents in 2015. You can also purchase a test kit through the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 
Tests should be done in the lowest level of the home that is frequently occupied. This might be a finished basement, or the main level of your home. If your home's radon level is at or above 4 piC/L, you should consider verification testing and having a radon mitigation system installed. Anyone interested in mitigating his or her home for radon should check MDH's list of certified radon mitigation contractors at and search radon.
The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 now requires disclosure and information be provided to buyers about radon during Minnesota home sales. The law requires sellers to inform buyers whether their home has been tested for radon and if so, what the levels are and whether the home has been mitigated for radon. In addition, sellers must provide a warning statement and a two-page publication to the buyer. Radon tests can be incorporated into a home inspection. The law does not require radon testing or mitigation.
Another law requires all homes built after 2009 to be built with passive radon resistant features. About one in five of these newer homes still have radon above the recommended action level. This is an improvement over the two in five Minnesota homes with elevated levels without these features. MDH encourages builders to activate the passive radon resistant features through the addition of a radon fan. In addition, new home buyers can request the fan be added during construction. In these new homes with radon fans, MDH has found very low radon concentrations.
MDH has been promoting a gold standard for Radon Resistant New Construction Program to builders for over four years. Companies that participate in this program are promoted through MDH's website and print advertising, and receive a point towards the Green Path designation. In addition, MDH provides technical support to builders, such as free radon fans for model homes and radon test kits.
To educate real estate professionals and builders about radon, the MDH offers continuing education classes at no cost. Real estate companies, builders and their associations that are interested in the classes can contact MDH or visit
For more information on radon, visit and search radon or call Dakota County Public Health at 952-891-7500. To see how radon has affected the lives of cancer patients and their families visit

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