Radon kits available

NEW ULM — January is National Radon Action Month, and Brown County Public Health will once again be offering short term radon test kits at no charge on a first-come, first- serve basis to homeowners in the Brown County area beginning Jan. 3, during “Radon Action Month.”

Kits can be picked up at:

Brown County Public Health Office, located 1117 Center St., New Ulm.

Sleepy Eye City Office at 200 Main St. E Sleepy Eye.

Springfield City Office at 2 E. Central St., Springfield.

Radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the U.S.

Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable, by testing homes and fixing radon problems. About 2 in 5 Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas and state health officials say every home should be tested. To help residents get a more accurate picture of radon levels, the Minnesota Department of Health launched an interactive map tool, available at apps.health.state.mn.us/mndata/radon.

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.

Testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes 3-7 days. The best time to test is during the heating season, but testing can be done year-round. Test kits are available in Brown County at the Public health Department, many hardware stores, or directly from radon testing laboratories. A list of participating health agencies and test kit vendors can be found on the MDH web site at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/rncontacts.html

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 his or her home for radon should consult MDH’s list of certified radon mitigation contractors at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/mitigation.html

Long term radon test kits are only available at the Public Health Office in New Ulm.

Test kits are available at the Public Health office year around at a reduced rate of $10 for a short term kit and $13 for a long term kit, even after the limited number of free kits is gone.

For more information on radon visit www.health.state.mn.us/radon or call Brown County Public Health at 507-233-6820 or the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050}

To see how radon has affected the lives of cancer patients and their families visit www.CanSar.org.