Tricounty News

Stearns County offering free radon test kits to residents

Radioactive gas is persistent health risk in Minnesota

Stearns County Environmental Services and Stearns County Public Health will be giving away free radon testing kits to area residents later this month.

Every hour, someone in the United States 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.

Stearns County and the
Minnesota Department of Health recommend that all homes in Minnesota be tested for radon. It’s the only way to know if there’s an elevated level of radon in the home, 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.

Testing is easy. Free radon testing kits will be available at the Service Center in Waite Park on Feb. 21, 2014.  Radon kits will be available in Melrose on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Feb. 20, 2014 from 8 a.m.-12 noon, or at other times by appointment. Kits will not be distributed in any way before this date. There are a limited number of kits available and will be distributed in person only on a first come basis until the supply is depleted. If you wish to call on Feb. 21, or later to see if kits are still available, contact the Stearns County Service Center in Waite Park at (320) 203-6942, or the Stearns County Environmental Services office in Melrose at (320) 256-1422.

MDH estimates that one in three existing Minnesota homes have radon levels that pose a large health risk over many years of exposure. 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.

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 (800) 798-9050.