National Radon Action Month to be recognized

Published 9:00 am Friday, January 1, 2016

Radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the United States.

Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable, by testing homes and fixing radon problems. According to a press release, about two in five Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas and state health officials said every home should be tested. According to Air Check Incorporated, the national average indoor radon level is 1.3 pCi/L. In Freeborn county the average is 9.2 pCi/L.

Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils. 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.

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Testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes three to five days. The best time to test is during the heating season, but testing can be done year-round. Test kits are available at Freeborn County Public Health at no charge. Kits can also be found at many hardware stores or directly from radon testing laboratories. A list of participating health agencies and test kit vendors can be found on the MDH web site at

Tests should be done in the lowest level of the home that is frequently occupied. If your home’s level is at or above 4 piC/L, you should consider verification testing and having a radon mitigation system installed. Anyone interested in mitigating their home for radon should consult MDH’s list of certified radon mitigation contractors

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.

For more information on radon, visit, or call Freeborn County Public Health at 507-377-5100, or the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050. To see how radon has affected the lives of cancer patients and their families visit