In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health, Brown-Nicollet Environmental/Community Health will be offering radon test kits at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis to homeowners beginning January 3, 2023 during “Radon Action Month.” Short-term radon test kits can be picked up at the Brown-Nicollet Environmental/Community Health Office, located on the second floor of the Nicollet County Health and Human Services Building, 622 S. Front Street in St. Peter, Minnesota. If you are interested, Brown-Nicollet staff suggests that you please call the office at 507-934-7089 before coming in to be sure that kits are still available.
Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils. The only way for residents to know if their home has radon is to test. More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the United States. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable, by testing homes and fixing radon problems.
Tests should be done in the lowest level of the home that is frequently occupied. Test devices are usually placed in the home for 2-5 days. 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.
Health professionals recommended testing for radon during real-estate transactions. Sellers must disclose any prior radon testing and provide a 2-page publication to buyers, under state law. Radon tests should be incorporated into a home inspection. MDH licenses home inspectors and other professionals who test for radon. A list of currently licensed radon measurement professionals can be found on the Find a Radon Measurement Professional page on MDH website.
In homes found to have high radon levels, radon reduction typically involves installing a venting pipe and fan to pull the gas from under the home to the outside. This reduces the amount of radon in the home to low levels. Professionals conducting radon mitigation must be licensed by MDH, follow standards, and affix a MDH tag to the system. A list of currently licensed radon mitigation professionals can be found on the Find a Radon Measurement Professional page on the MDH website.
To help residents get a more accurate picture of radon levels in Minnesota, MDH launched a series of maps showing information about Radon in Minnesota. Some of the key findings were:
1) About 40% of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon.
2) The average radon level in Minnesota homes is about 4.2 pCi/L compared to 1.3 pCi/L nationwide.
3) Only about 1-2% of homes in Minnesota are tested annually, but every home in Minnesota should be tested at least every 5 years.
4) Testing and mitigation is less frequent in communities with lower incomes and more renters.
For more information on radon visit www.health.state.mn.us/radon or call Brown-Nicollet Environmental