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Radioactive gas is persistent health risk in Minnesota


Fri, Jan 25th, 2013
Posted in All Health & Wellness

Every hour, one person in the US dies from radon-related lung cancer. It is the largest environmental cancer risk and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable.

Fillmore County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health recommend that all homes in Minnesota be tested for radon. It’s the only way to know if your home has an elevated level of radon, which can cause lung cancer. Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils and can enter homes through cracks and openings in basement or foundation floors and walls.

Kits will be available from Public Health on January 31, 2013, from 2:00 to 4:30. Kits can also be obtained by contacting Brenda Leigh Pohlman with Fillmore County Public Health (FCPH) at 507-765-3898 or 902 Houston Street NW, Preston, MN. You may also contact FCPH by emailing bpohlman@co.fillmore.mn.us

MDH estimates that one in three existing Minnesota homes have radon levels that pose a large health risk over many years of exposure. In Fillmore County, 54.8 percent of homes tested have radon above the recommended level of 4 pCi/L. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and more than 21,000 deaths are attributed to radon each year.

Radon exposure, however, is largely preventable. First, test your home to see if you have elevated radon levels. Fillmore County offers short-term tests which can be done in less than a week or long-term tests that can run for months. Both types of kits are available at no cost. In homes with levels over 4.0 pCi/L, homeowners should consider verification testing and possibly installing a mitigation system, which will remove radon from your home. The final step is to encourage friends, family, and coworkers to test their own homes for radon.

For more information on radon testing and mitigation visit www.health.state.mn.us/radon or call the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050. Anyone interested in mitigating his or her home for radon should consult MDH’s list of certified radon mitigation contractors at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/mitigation.html.

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