Crow Wing County offers free radon testing kits
Homes should be tested at least every five years.
CROW WING COUNTY — The Minnesota Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urge people to test their homes for radon, the invisible radioactive gas found at elevated levels in many Minnesota homes.
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 levels in Minnesota, the MDH launched a series of maps showing information about
Radon in Minnesota.
Some of the key findings were:
- About 40% of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon.
- The average radon level in Minnesota homes is about 4.4 pCi/L compared to 1.3 pCi/L nationwide.
- Only about 1%-2% of homes in Minnesota are tested annually, when it’s recommended that at least 20% are tested annually.
- Testing and mitigation is less frequent in communities with lower incomes and more renters.
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. The best time to test is during the heating season, but testing can be done year-round. With more people working and schooling from home, it’s even more important to test homes.
Homes should be tested at least every five 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 two to five days, and is free through the Crow Wing County Land Services Department. Radon test kits are available to be picked up in the Land Services Building at the customer service counter located at 322 Laurel St., Suite 15, Brainerd, between 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 their home for radon should consult MDH’s list of radon mitigation professionals: Find a Radon Mitigation Professional - EH: Minnesota Department of Health (state.mn.us)
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.
The MDH encourages builders to activate the passive radon resistant features through the addition of a radon fan. In addition, new homebuyers 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 Radon in Minnesota Homes - EH: Minnesota Department of Health (state.mn.us) or contact The Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601.