What To Do About Radon

Dear Sam,

I saw a recent Facebook post urging Minneapolis residents to test for radon levels in their homes. Can you tell me more about radon and what I need to do?


Dear Jeff,

We are glad you asked this question. Radon occurs naturally, but 2 out of every 5 homes in Minnesota test high for radon and exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Below is information to help you learn more about radon and how to reduce exposure.

What is radon?
Radon is a colorless and odorless gas found in the soil throughout Minnesota. Because soil is porous, radon moves up from the soil, accumulates in the air, and enters homes.

Why is radon a health concern?
Radon gas decays into small radioactive particles. When these small particles are inhaled, they can damage the lungs and may lead to lung cancer if exposure lasts over an extended period.

What can I do to test my home for radon?
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends that every household test for radon because it is the only way to determine how much radon is in your home. Test results will help you know whether you need to take steps to reduce your home’s radon levels.

What is a safe level of radon?
Any radon level may pose some health risks. The EPA has set the action level at 4 pCi/L (4 picocuries of radon per liter of air). At that level or higher, the EPA recommends installing a radon mitigation system by a licensed radon professional to reduce the radon level.

What does a radon mitigation system do?
Radon mitigation systems use a fan to pull air from the soil and exhaust it directly outside the home. Here is an example of a mitigation system as seen from outside a home:

Where can I get more information?

Tangletown Neighborhood Association has also added a Radon Resources web page to their site. Check it out for additional resources I may not have covered. Winter is the best time to test the radon levels in your home, so order a radon test online or pick one up in the neighborhood at Diamond Lake Hardware on 54th and Nicollet.