Crow Wing County and the Minnesota Department of Health recommend all homes be tested for radon.

A home should be tested at least every five years. January is National Radon Action Month.

Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas occurring naturally in the soil that can enter homes through cracks and openings in basements or foundation floors and walls.

It is important to perform a radon test after buying a new heating system or adding central air conditioning, authorities reported. Radon is the largest environmental cancer risk and leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. In Minnesota, 2 in 5 homes have radon levels posing a significant health risk. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable.

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Free radon test kits are available at the Land Services Building by appointment only, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., at 322 Laurel St., Suite 15, in Brainerd. Appointments can be made by calling 218-824-1010. There is a limit of one radon kit per household.

Testing takes two to seven days. In homes with levels over 4.0 pCi/L, homeowners should consider verification testing and possibly installing a mitigation system, which will remove radon.

Anyone interested in mitigating their home for radon should consult the Minnesota Department of Health’s list of certified radon mitigation contractors at https://bit.ly/2MbNbEp.

Minnesota law requires disclosure and information to be provided to buyers about radon during 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 Minnesota Department of Health’s radon data portal includes interactive maps that describe radon levels and disparities in testing and mitigation rates. The portal can be found at https://bit.ly/3p25ZEY.