Editorial: Radon is a persistent health risk in state
Every 25 minutes, one person in the U.S. dies from radon-related lung cancer, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. It is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths 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 U.S.
Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable, by testing homes and fixing radon problems. More than 40 percent of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas and state health officials say every home should be tested.
MDH is recommending people test their homes in late fall or winter, which they say is the best time to test.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Test kits are low cost and can be found at many hardware stores.
Radon is odorless, colorless and tasteless, so the only way for homeowners to know if their home has radon is to test. Testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes 3-5 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. Tests should not be done in laundry or utility rooms, kitchens or bathrooms. Once you have tested, further action can be taken based upon your results. If your home’s level is over 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 consult MDH’s list of certified Radon Contractors/Mitigation Service Providers.
A new law, the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act, going into effect in January 2014, will require specific and detailed radon disclosure and notification during most home sales. It is highly recommended to test during real-estate transactions. Radon tests can be incorporated into a home inspection.
Take some time and do a test to make sure your house is safe.
PARK RAPIDS ENTERPRISE