Editorial Roundup: Testing for radon in homes a healthy decision

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Radon is not a new problem, and inspecting for the odorless, deadly gas before buying or selling a home has been commonplace.

Unfortunately, that practice waned recently in Minnesota.

Radon testing during home purchases declined nearly 40% in two years, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. MDH analyzed professional radon testing data for 2020 to 2022 and found that in 2022 there were 19,976 real estate tests reported by professionals, which was lower than the 32,537 tests reported in 2020.

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The hot housing market definitely had something to do with dropping the radon inspection contingency as property sales moved at lightning speed. But that is one dangerous corner to cut.

Radon is naturally found in soil and causes lung cancer — the leading cause among non-smokers. And just because your neighbor tested his house for radon and the levels were low doesn’t mean your home test will see the same result. The health department says radon is found at elevated levels in about 40% of all Minnesota homes.

Testing for radon is easy and inexpensive and best done during the heating season when houses are more closed up. Test kits often can be obtained at county health offices, sometimes for free or at low cost, or at hardware stores.

If testing indicates high levels, it isn’t a sign that your house is a lemon. Straightforward measures can be taken, and there are certified contractors throughout the state who handle radon mitigation.

Our homes are where we spend most of our time — sleeping, eating, relaxing, perhaps working, maybe raising children. It’s not worth the risk to ignore the threat that radon poses if it goes undetected for years. Test your house, and make sure that any house you intend to buy or sell also has been tested.

— Mankato Free Press, Jan. 9

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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