New law to require homeowners to disclose radon tests when selling

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Starting on Jan. 1, 2014, Minnesota homeowners will be required to disclose if a radon test has been performed on their property. The Brainerd Dispatch reported that the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act, passed by the 2013 Legislature, requires that specific and detailed results of a test, including mitigation, must also be disclosed.

WCCO reported that 40 percent of all homes have radon levels above the danger threshold. The report said that the new law does not require homeowners to perform radon testing, but added that a test can identify the presence of radon. Homeowners can purchase test kits at hardware stores for between $10 and $40. Low or no cost test kits are also available at city and county health departments.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. During the month, the Minnesota Department of Health is sponsoring radio ads in the Twin Cities to encourage people to test their homes.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is odorless, tasteless and colorless. The radium gas gradually migrates through the soil and seeps into homes through floor cracks and other foundation openings in the basement, exposing occupants to the carcinogen.

The EPA has set an action level of 4 picocuries per liter of air. Any reading above that is cause for additional testing or radon mitigation work. Radon tests can be incorporated into a home inspection.

Radon-related lung cancer is considered the the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the U.S.

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