BROWN COUNTY - Brown County Public Health is offering a limited amount of radon test kits to area homeowners. There is no charge for the kits.
Testing is the only way to know if a home contains dangerous levels of radon gas, which can cause lung caner.
Brown County Public Health will offer free radon test kits on a first-come, first- serve basis to homeowners in the Brown County area beginning Jan. Wednesday 8, during "Radon Action Month."
The Minnesota Department of Health recommends that all homes in Minnesota be tested for radon.
Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils. It can enter homes primarily through cracks and openings in basement or foundation floors and walls.
The Minnesota Department of Health estimates that one in three existing Minnesota homes has radon levels that pose a large health risk over many years of exposure. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and more than 21,000 deaths are attributed to radon each year.
Radon exposure, however, is largely preventable. First, test for elevated radon levels. Testing is easy, inexpensive and takes 3-5 days. If a home has dangerous levels, a mitigation system can be installed to reduce radon from indoor air.
In homes with levels over 4 pCi/L, homeowners should consider verification testing and possible mitigation. The final step is to encourage friends, family, and coworkers to test their own homes for radon.
Effective Jan.. 1, 2014, new legislation, the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act, requires specific disclosure and education be provided to potential home buyers during residential real estate transactions in Minnesota. In addition, before signing a purchase agreement to sell or transfer residential real property, the seller shall disclose in writing to the buyer any knowledge the seller has of radon concentrations in the dwelling.
In Minnesota, buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction are free to negotiate radon testing and reduction. Ultimately, it is up to the buyer to decide an acceptable level of radon risk in the home. Prospective buyers should keep in mind that it is inexpensive and easy to measure radon, and radon levels can be lowered at a reasonable cost. The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act does not require radon testing or mitigation.
The Minnesota Department of Health Radon Program website provides more detailed information on radon, including the Minnesota Department of Health brochure "Keeping Your Home Safe from Radon."
The short-term test kits are available at:
Brown County Public Health Office at 1117 Center Street, New Ulm.
Sleepy Eye City Office at 200 Main Street E, Sleepy Eye,
Springfield City Office at 2 E Central Street, Springfield,
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 at a reduced rate even after the limited number of free kits is gone. Call 507-233-6820 for more information.
For more information on radon testing and mitigation go to www.health.state.mn.us/radon or call the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050.
Anyone interested in mitigating his or her home for radon should consult MDH's list of certified radon mitigation contractors at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/mitigation.html