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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Radon Testing in Minnesota Homes Recommended

Because radon levels in Minnesota are cause for concern, state officials recommend that homeowners test their homes for this odorless, colorless gas.

The Star Tribune ran an article in February (“Minnesota is a Hotbed for Radioactive Radon”) which reported that more than 40 percent of Minnesota homes tested for radon in the last 13 years had unsafe levels of radon.

Radon is a known cancer-causing agent and is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths nationwide. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that 21,000 people each year die of lung cancer caused by radon. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, which is produced by the decay of uranium and radium in the soil. It is odorless, colorless and tasteless. The radiation from this gas can harm cells that make up the body’s tissues, with the lungs being most vulnerable.

The Minnesota Department of Health estimates that about one in three Minnesota homes have enough radon to pose a large risk to the occupants’ health over many years of exposure and recommends that all homes be tested. The prices for radon test kits vary, but many can be found online and at local hardware stores for less than $20.

The state health department also reports that many homeowners don’t test for radon because they don’t know about the high risk in Minnesota for this deadly gas. Unfortunately, because efforts to better educate the population have been underfunded, many people simply are uninformed about this important issue.

For more information, visit Health.State.mn.us.

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