While radon is present everywhere, and there is no known, safe level, your greatest exposure is where it can concentrate and where you spend most time - at home. If you are interested in receiving a test kit please contact the Mille Lacs County Community and Veterans Services office at 320-983-8208.
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It is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas. Radon is colorless, tasteless, colorless, and odorless, so it is undetectable by our senses. Radon is released from the natural breakdown of uranium and radium in our soil, rock, and water. As radium disintegrates, it turns into radioactive gas, radon. Elevated levels of radon have been found in homes in every state. Radon is able to get into any type of building and build up to high levels. Homes that are new or old, drafty or air tight, big or small, and with or without a basement are all just as likely to have a radon problem.
If you are interested in receiving a test kit please contact the Mille Lacs County Community and Veterans Services office at 320-983-8208.
There are no known immediate symptoms from radon, whereas health problems are often seen after long exposures to elevated levels of radon indoors. In the outdoor air it is harmlessly dispersed. When radon in the air is inhaled into the lungs the process of radioactive decay begins. This leads to the DNA of our sensitive lung tissue being damaged both physically and chemically.
Scientists and researchers categorize radon as a Group A carcinogen meaning that there is no known acceptable level of exposure and that it has been demonstrated to cause cancer. Other Group A carcinogens include tobacco smoke and asbestos.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer (after tobacco) in smokers. Thankfully, this risk should be entirely preventable through awareness and testing.
High radon exists in every state is the U.S. In Minnesota, 2 out of every 5 homes have radon levels that pose a significant health risk, and nearly 80% of Minnesota's counties are rated high radon zones. If you are interested in receiving a test kit please contact the Mille Lacs County Community and Veterans Services office at 320-983-8208.
Since radon is produced from soil, it is present nearly everywhere. Because soil is absorbent, radon gas is able to move up through the dirt and rocks, enters the home and moves freely throughout the indoor air in which we breathe. Radon may enter a home anywhere there is an opening between the home and soil.
These openings include cracks in a foundation, floor drains, sump pumps, dirt floor crawl spaces, and numerous others. The amount of radon in the home will vary according to the amount of radon in the source material and the rate at which it is able to enter the building. The level of radon is often highest in the lowest part of a building.
Anyone can use a "do-it-yourself" test kit to check his or her home. There are short-term and long-term test kits available.
Short-term test kits should remain in the home for two to seven days, depending on the device. Weather conditions and opening and closing of windows will affect radon levels within a home. Using the short-term test will give the homeowner a snapshot of the home's radon level.
The long-term test (3 to 12 months), gives the user a year-round average level of radon. The best way to estimate the year-round average of radon in a home is to test for a full year. Results from long-term radon tests can realistically be used to decide whether or not to mitigate a home. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that for homes, initial measurements be short-term tests placed in the lowest lived-in level. Short-term testing in closed building conditions helps residents quickly learn if a home has high levels of radon.
Homeowners can contact a qualified radon reduction contractor if they are concerned about the high levels of radon found in their home.
There are several things they can do; sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a simple way to start. This by itself will not lower the levels consistently or significantly. Venting units including fans and pipes, called sub-slab depressurization, is used most often and effectively to reduce levels of radon. The most efficient method will depend on the home's design and the specific cause of the problem.
The Minnesota Department of Health has this information on their website. Radon problems usually can be repaired for about the same amount as other common home repairs (washer or dryer, new hot water heater installed). On average, mitigation services will cost between $200 and $2,500. The price is largely dependent on your home's construction and the strength of the radon source. If you are interested in receiving a test kit please contact the Mille Lacs County Community and Veterans Services office at 320-983-8208.
Radon test kits can be purchased at most hardware stores and range in price from $5 to $25. As of 01/27/2020, Mille Lacs County Community and Veterans Services offer radon kits for $5 each to Mille Lacs County residents, while supplies last. Mille Lacs County has a limited supply of test kits. If you are interested in receiving a test kit please contact the Mille Lacs County Community and Veterans Services office at 320-983-8208. If you are not a Mille Lacs County resident, please contact your local public health department and ask about radon test kits.