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EPA Urges Testing Homes for Radon; MN Law Starts Wednesday

December 31, 2013, 10:06 PM by Brady Mallory

EPA Urges Testing Homes for Radon; MN Law Starts Wednesday

Even if you do not know what radon is, many of you may be living with it.  Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say the gas is among the leading causes of lung cancer in the U.S. and likely in your home.

"It is real.  I've seen probably over 100 radon tests, and I've never seen anyone come back zero, completely negative for radon," Annie Welsh, a realtor with Keller Williams Realty, said.

You cannot see, smell or taste radon, but the cancer-causing gas can seep into your home from the ground.

"I almost can guarantee you, whether you're buying a home, selling now, selling five years from now, the subject will come up.  Radon will come up," Welsh said.

The EPA has declared January National Radon Action Month.  The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute have encouraged people to test their homes and work-places for radon during January.  A radon test takes about two days, and can cost between $30 and $100.  You can have it done for you, or find a home kit at many hardware stores. Mike Austad with Dakota Radon Mitigation said you can rid your home of the gas with a mitigation system.

"It's pulling airflow from the ground, getting the radon out, before it gets into the home and sending it out," Austad said, pointing to a device installed in a sump pump basin.  You don't need to have a sump pump to have the system.

The mitigation system costs between $800 and $1,300.  Austad said one in five homes in our region have dangerous levels of radon, compared to the national average of just one in 15 homes.

"It can be a new home, an older home, any design of home - whether it be a ranch, walkout, or even a home without a basement," Austad said.

Starting on January 1, a Minnesota law will require home sellers to tell buyers whether their home has been tested for radon, and if so, what the levels are and whether the home has a mitigation system for radon.  

"It is just important to be educated, you know?  Sometimes my clients struggle with, 'Should we test for it?  I don't know, is it worth the cost?'  To test for it is pretty inexpensive, and if it's nothing more than piece of mind, then it is definitely worth it," Welsh said.

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