Crow Wing County and the Minnesota Department of Health recommend that all homes be tested for radon. About two in five Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas and state health officials say every home should be tested. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable by testing homes and fixing radon problems. To help residents get a more accurate picture of radon, the Minnesota Department of Health launched a radon data portal. The portal includes interactive maps that describe radon levels and disparities in testing and mitigation rates. The portal can be found on the MDH web site: data.web.health.state.mn.us/web/mndata/radon.
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. A home should be tested at least every 5 years. It is important to perform a radon test after buying a new heating system or adding central air conditioning.
Testing is easy, only takes 3-7 days, and is free through Crow Wing County Land Services Department to area residents. Radon test kits are available to be picked up in the Land Services Building at the customer service counter located at 322 Laurel St. Ste 15, Brainerd, Minn., between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. There is a limit of one radon kit per household.
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 pCi/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 radon mitigation professionals: www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/air/radon/mitigation.html
Minnesota law 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 new homes built since 2009 be built with passive radon resistant features. About one in five of these newer homes have radon above the recommended action level; this is an improvement over the levels found in the overall Minnesota housing stock where about two in five homes have elevated levels. 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.
For more information on radon, visit www.health.state.mn.us/radon or the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at (651) 201-4601.