Albert Lea VA and Department of Health to offer radon test kits at drive-through flu clinic

Published 5:25 pm Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Minneapolis VA Health Care System (HCS) announced Wednesday it will offer free radon test kits to any veteran who drives through the Albert Lea VA Clinic’s flu vaccine clinic from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14.

Radon, an odorless, colorless gas that comes from the soil, poses a significant health risk and is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, according to a press release. The only way to know if your home has high radon levels is to test. Radon is a problem across Minnesota, so residents in every county should test their home. Minnesota Department of Health and Minneapolis VA Health Care System recommend that homeowners conduct an inexpensive, do-it-yourself test of their home for radon.

The average radon level in Minnesota is more than three times higher than the average U.S. radon level. However, the average radon level in Freeborn County is more than six times higher than the average U.S. radon level. The analysis by the Department of Health found that the average radon level in Freeborn County homes is about 8.1 pCi/L (picocuries per liter in the air) as compared to 1.3 pCi/L nationwide.

Minnesota Public Health Data Access Portal at the Minnesota Department of Health analyzed eight years of data from 2010 to 2018. The radon data maps for Freeborn County show that seven in 10 homes tested for radon are over the action level of 4.0 pCi/L. At 4 pCi/L or higher, it is recommended a radon mitigation system is installed to reduce the radon level.

More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are linked to radon. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable, by testing homes and fixing radon problems.
Testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes three to seven days. The best time to test is during the heating seasons, but testing can be done year-round.

Tests should be done in the lowest level of the home that is frequently occupied. If your home’s test results show it is at or above 4 piC/L, you should consider one more test to verify the result and then having a radon reduction (‘mitigation’) system installed.

Anyone interested in reducing the radon in his or her home should consult MDH’s list of licensed radon mitigation professionals at mn.gov/radonpro.

To help residents get a more accurate picture of radon levels in their counties, MDH launched an interactive map tool in July 2016. The maps and charts can be found on the Minnesota Public Health Data Access portal at https://apps.health.state.mn.us/mndata/radon.

If you are not a veteran or are a veteran but unable to attend the Albert Lea VA Clinic’s flu vaccine clinic drive-through event you can purchase a radon test kit at mn.radon.com for $11.

For more information on radon testing and mitigation, visit mn.gov/radon or call the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050.

For more information on this event, please go to VA Minneapolis Health Care | Radon Test Kit Giveaway At Albert Lea VA Clinic | Veterans Affairs.