Skip to main content

Health officials have raised alarm about the decline in radon testing during real estate transactions in Minnesota over the past two years.

The Minnesota Department of Health said there was a "tremendous increase" in testing for the cancer-causing gas between 2018 and 2020, only for the number to drop by 39% since then.

This covers the period that has not only seen the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a spike in housing prices in the Twin Cities, with a numerous houses changing hands without inspections, skipping radon tests in the process.

MSH says that no radon tests were conducted for 12,500 property purchases between 2020-2022, suggesting fewer homeowners are identifying and taking steps to mitigate radon in their household.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally in state soils and can be found at elevated levels in about 40% of Minnesota homes. It's the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and kills more than 21,000 people across the country annually, MDH said.

The dangers of radon can be mitigated by testing homes and installing radon reduction systems inside homes that present a greater risk.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a decline in radon testing reported to us during home sales," said Dan Tranter, supervisor of the MDH Indoor Air Program. “Radon professionals have also told us about a decline in their services. During the hot housing market in the last couple of years, some home buyers were skipping home inspections and radon tests."

MDH also notes with more people working from home, it makes it even more crucial to test for the gas. 

White Bear Township home inspector and consultant, Amanda Klecker, said homeowners are foregoing the testing to make offers more competitive.

“Over the past few years, I've seen a steady decline in radon testing that is contingent on a home sale — many homeowners have been purchasing without even a home inspection in order to make their offer more competitive,” she said. "Thankfully, some realtors are highly knowledgeable about the harmful health effects of radon and have been encouraging their buyers to have the home tested after closing."

"While it's unfortunate the testing isn't being done prior to closing, buyers can still test after closing to ensure their home is safe for their family," Klecker added.

According to MDH, the average reading for radon in Minnesota homes is around 4.2 picoCuries per Liter (pCi/L). A radon mitigation system is recommended when a reading goes above that level.

MDH has partnered with local public health departments and other organizations to make radon test kits available at low or no cost during the winter season. Tests should be conducted in the lowest level of a home that is frequently occupied, according to the health department. The best time to test is during the heating season, however, testing can also be completed year-round as well.

MDH administers free inspections of radon mitigation systems installed after June 1, 2020. The inspections are to ensure the systems have been installed correctly. You can request an inspection by emailing health@indoorair.state.mn.us.

Besides visiting MDH's website, homeowners can call the MDH Indoor Air Unit at (651)-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050 for more information.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.

ShutterflyGoogle

Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.

millcitymuseum_hr1

Mill City Museum in the running to be named best history museum in the U.S.

The museum offers scenic views of the Mississippi River.

HolmgrenMugRamseyCo

Man charged with attempted murder of White Bear Lake police officer

Daniel Holmgren Jr., 33, was being served an arrest warrant at the time of the incident.

image

Gallery: 1,000-acre Wisconsin resort listed for nearly $4.3M

The lush landscape features a creek and private lake.

Related

residential neighborhood homes

MDH: 40% of homes in Minnesota have dangerous levels of radioactive gas

It's important to test your home for radon, especially now when so many people are spending more time at home due to COVID-19, health officials say.

monkeypox

First case of monkeypox confirmed in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health says the risk to the public is "considered low" at this time.

syphilis

Minnesota reports 'concerning level' of syphilis cases

The Minnesota Department of Health says most of the cases are being discovered in the northern part of the state.

A sick child receiving treatment.

MDH officials advise parents to watch for signs of rare hepatitis in children

It's investigating three cases in Minnesota of children under the age of 3 with liver inflammation.

bethesda hospital

MDH backs new mental health hospital in St. Paul, but has concerns

The facility would be located at the former Bethesda Hospital site, near the Minnesota Capitol building.

masks

Appeals court rules in favor of MDH regarding COVID-19 bar shutdowns

The two central Minnesota locations claimed the health department "didn't have the authority."

A tall glass of water with ice.

New dashboard tracks drinking water quality in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health announced a new online dashboard to keep track of PFAS.

image

What we know about monkeypox testing and vaccinations in Minnesota

While vaccines are limited, they are being administered here in Minnesota.