Crow Wing County offers free radon test kits
Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils. It can enter homes through cracks or openings in walls or foundations. The only way for residents to know if their home has radon is to test.
BRAINERD — Crow Wing County, the Minnesota Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urge everyone to test their home for radon, the invisible radioactive gas found at elevated levels in many Minnesota homes.
About 2 in 5 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 health department launched a series of maps showing information about radon in Minnesota, which can be viewed online at bit.ly/3fP51bT . 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, and
- Testing and mitigation are 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 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, according to officials. 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 to area residents. Radon test kits are available at the Land Services Building 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the customer service counter located at 322 Laurel St., Suite 15, Brainerd. 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 a home’s level is at or above 4 pCi/L, residents should consider verification testing and having a radon mitigation system installed.
Anyone interested in mitigating their home for radon should consult the health department’s online list of radon mitigation professionals at bit.ly/3qNYPrf .
Minnesota law requires disclosure and information to 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. The health department 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, the health department has found very low radon concentrations.
For more information on radon visit health.state.mn.us/radon or contact the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601.