Test your Air this Month

Posted by Kris Lindahl on Friday, January 29th, 2016 at 8:59am.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has dubbed January National Radon Action Month as a reminder to Americans that it’s time to check the air in their homes.

Indoor air pollution is a problem nationwide but here in Edina, especially in the winter when our homes are bundled up tight, it can be an even bigger concern. While there are many indoor pollutants in our homes (carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, etc.), one of the dangerous contributors to indoor air pollution is radon, a radioactive gas that can neither be smelled nor seen.

Radon gas forms when rocks emit uranium and radium as they break down. These substances get into your home through even the tiniest of cracks in the foundation. Check out the photo, above. Pretty scary, isn't it?

The Dangers of Radon Gas

So, what happens when you breathe in radon gas? Studies show that, second only to cigarette smoking, inhaling radon gas causes lung cancer. It’s an insidious poison – it may be in your home but not your neighbor’s. It pollutes new homes as well as old. And, the only way to know if your indoor air is affected is by testing it. Yes, you can purchase a DIY kit and the EPA claims they are effective. In fact, the Minnesota Department of Health has partners that have agreed to offer discount pricing on their testing kits to Edina residents. You can find out more about this here or go to this manufacturer's website and mention the promo code MN4RADON for your discount. Hennepin County also offers low-cost radon test kits. Find the order form here.

The Department of Health states that if you are getting a radon test before putting your home on the market you should use an indoor air pollution specialist to test the air in your home.

How do I get rid of Radon Gas?

Reducing the amount of radon gas from the air in your home is no small job. Reduction specialists will typically use several methods. These include sealing the cracks in the foundation and installing a vent pipe and fan.

Is Edina in a Radon Gas Danger Zone?

The EPA has created maps that show which counties have the highest and lowest potential for radon gas pollution indoors. The map above is the EPA map for Minnesota. Red counties are considered Zone 1 and they have the highest potential. Zone 2 counties, those colored orange, have moderate potential for radon pollution and the yellow counties, or Zone 3 counties have the lowest.

Hennepin County is considered Zone 1, so consider having your indoor air tested. Consult the EPA website to learn who in Minnesota is approved by the agency to perform radon mitigation.


House image courtesy University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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