The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month. Otter Tail County Public Health encourages you to test your home for radon. A free radon test kit is available at the Public Health office in Fergus Falls.
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that seeps up from the earth. When inhaled, it gives off radioactive particles that can damage the cells that line the lung. Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer. In fact, over 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year are from radon, making it a serious health concern for all Minnesotans.
A radon test is the only way to find out how much radon is in your home and if you and your family are at risk. Performing a radon test on your own is easy, inexpensive and takes only a few minutes of your time. The results of a properly performed radon test will help determine if you need to take further action to protect yourself from the health risks of radon.
“I would encourage everyone to test their homes for radon,” explained Andrea Demmer, Otter Tail County sanitarian, “It is important to be aware of anything in your home’s environment that could potentially lead to health concerns and ensure that radon mitigation is in place if necessary.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), “The average radon level in Minnesota is more than three times higher than the U.S. radon level.” Living in a colder climate means that homes are closed up for many months throughout the year and this can contribute to higher levels of radon in Minnesota homes. In fact, it has been found that 2 in 5 homes in Minnesota have significant levels of radon that may pose a risk to people’s health.
Radon kits may be picked up at the Public Health office Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. The completed test is mailed in the provided postage paid envelope, to Air Check, a radon testing company based in North Carolina. The results are sent via email to the homeowner free of charge. An instructional video on how to complete the test is available on the Public Health webpage — ottertailcountymn.us/content-page/radon/.
To learn more about radon in Minnesota visit health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/index.html.