Now is the time to test for radon
As winter creeps in we are buttoning up our homes and turning on the heat. This is the time of year when the ground freezes and our homes are getting closed up. Having a home which is closed and heated creates a vacuum within - pulling soil gases...
As winter creeps in we are buttoning up our homes and turning on the heat. This is the time of year when the ground freezes and our homes are getting closed up. Having a home which is closed and heated creates a vacuum within - pulling soil gases into our homes more than what occurs during the summer months. With a frozen ground, soil gases are just looking for an escape route and our homes provide a great avenue for that. It is important to know that radon is one of those naturally occurring soil gases and that it is harmful to our health over time and in elevated amounts.
Radon is an odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that is released from the minerals uranium and radium found in the soil. As these minerals age, they break down, continuously releasing radon from the ground into the air above. Because our homes have a lower pressure than the ground below, they act as vacuums, sucking radon up into our homes through the cracks in our basements and foundations and dispersing radon gases throughout our home (MDH, Radon in Minnesota Homes).
What should we do? How do we find out what the radon level is in our homes and how can we protect ourselves? The first step is simple. Test your home. The most inexpensive and efficient way to test your home's radon level is to purchase a $2 test kit from Carlton County Public Health and Human Services. The kit includes detailed instructions on placement of the test and consists of a pliable cardboard envelope with a small square sponge filter. The test is hung in the lowest part of your home at eye level and after at least three days, you send the test kit in the mail to be analyzed in a lab. It is important to know that if you decide to test your home for radon, you will need to sign a consent form agreeing that you understand your results are under disclosure laws in the sale of your home.
Within a few weeks after mailing in your kit, you will receive the results in the mail. If your test results come back with radon levels below 4 picoCuries/L, congratulations, the process is over and no further action is necessary. If your test reflects high results, equal to or above 4 picoCuries/L, health educators from Carlton County Public Health and Human Services can help you discuss the resources to lower the level of radon in your home if you choose to do so.
To obtain your test kit, stop by Carlton County Public Health and Human Services at 30 10th St. No. in Cloquet. If you have questions, call the office at 218-879-4511 or 1-888-818-4511 and ask to speak with a health educator.