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5 Radon Facts

Although Minnesota is blessed with an abundance of clean air and water, a silent hazard lurks in the state’s rocks and soil. Produced from decaying uranium and radium, radon gas is present in Minnesota homes at three times the average level in the United States. Fortunately, steps can be taken to detect and mitigate.

Following are five facts about radon, and some resources for taking action.

1. What is Radon?
An odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that is a widespread health hazard in Minnesota.

2. Is Radon Bad for Health?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon exposure causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year. 40% of Minnesota’s homes have elevated levels of the gas.

3. All Homeowners Should Test for Radon
Although the Minnesota Department of Health (MNDOH) recommends that all homeowners test for radon, it is not legally required. According to the EPA, radon levels of 4.0 picocuries (pCi/L) and above are hazardous to human health.

4. Radon Mitigation Systems Are Highly Effective

If testing reveals elevated levels of radon, installing a mitigation system is a highly effective way to reduce the threat. However, there are no federal or state laws requiring homeowners to do so.

5. Home Sellers Must Disclose the Presence of Radon

The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act requires homeowners to disclose any knowledge of radon concentrations in writing to any potential buyer. 

What You Need to Know About Radon Testing and Mitigation 

Testers must be licensed

As of January 2019, a new Minnesota law required all professional radon testers to get a state license and abide by stringent testing guidelines. 

What happens during a professional radon test?

The Minnesota Radon Licensing Act requires radon-testing professionals “to produce accurate, defensible, and reproducible test results.” For the most precise reading, separate tests are performed for each unique foundation type on your property: 

  • Basement 
  • Crawlspaces 
  • Slab-on-grade spaces below enclosed porch
  • Other areas as required 

Radon testers also must produce detailed reports about the type of equipment used, specifics about testing locations, internal and external environmental conditions during the test, and other factors. 

How much does a radon mitigation system cost?

When dangerous levels are discovered, MNDOH highly recommends installing a radon-mitigation system. These systems cost from $1,200 to $2,500 and can be installed by one of the nationally certified radon-mitigation professionals listed on MNDOH’s Radon Service Providers page. 

To learn more, visit the Radon page on the MNDOH website.