Minneapolis encouraging residents to test homes for radon

Minneapolis encouraging residents to test homes for radon

Minneapolis encouraging residents to test homes for radon

The Minneapolis Department of Health is encouraging neighbors to test their homes for radon, a gas that can cause serious health issues.

Gregory Wheeler, a father of four, had no idea his home had elevated levels of radon until a neighbor suggested he test for it last year. When he read the results, he said he was terrified.

“Very alarming, scared,” he said. “I wanted to move out of the house.”

The naturally occurring odorless and colorless gas comes from the soil.

“It’s going to enter usually through cracks in the basement slab or walls,” explained Jonathan Rossall, a healthy homes inspector for the Minneapolis Health Department. He said levels are typically higher in lower floors of homes.

More than 40% of homes in Minnesota have dangerously high levels of radon, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The average radon level in Minnesota is three times higher than in other parts of the United States. MDH attributes the unusually high levels to the state’s geology and cold climate.

“It’s actually the second leading cause of lung cancer,” Rossall said. “Radon is radioactive, so it’s damaging to the body.”

The City of Minneapolis is offering 400 free radon tests during January, which is Radon Action Month.

“If you spend a lot of time in lower levels with a finished basement, with bedrooms especially, then that’s a situation where we would say it’s a higher priority to test and mitigate,” Rossall said.

When Wheeler reached out to the city about his elevated levels, they brought in a contractor to install a mitigation system.

“My two girls live in the basement and now the levels are low. I feel much safer, at ease,” Wheeler said. “Go get your home tested today. Radon is a very serious and dangerous issue that we all must be concerned about.”

The City of Minneapolis has grant funding available to offset the cost of mitigation.