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Crow Wing County Offers Free Radon Testing Kits

Crow Wing County and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommend that all homes in Minnesota be tested for radon. It's the only way to know if your home has an elevated level of radon, 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.

To obtain a test kit, visit the Land Services Office at 322 Laurel St., Brainerd. Supplies are limited so residents are encouraged to stop and acquire a kit soon, the county reported.

Read the article online: http://www.brainerddispatch.com/content/crow-wing-county-offers-free-radon-testing-kits

Radon Testing: Should Home Buyers Rely on the Seller's Test?

Reuben Saltzman shares advice on relying on the seller's radon test results.

If a home buyer is going to rely on someone else's radon test results instead of hiring their own company to conduct a radon test, they should make sure that the previous test was done within the last two years, the testing was done by a qualified person / company, no major changes happened at the home that could affect radon levels, and that the radon test was placed in the proper location.

Read the article online: http://www.startribune.com/local/yourvoices/274330561.html

Maine Health Officials Urge Property Owners to Test Wells for Toxins and Radon in Water

State Toxicologist, Dr. Andrew Smith, says more than fifty percent of the homes in Maine rely on wells for their water supply, but many people do not know how safe the water they are drinking is.

Recent reports about elevated levels of naturally occurring fluoride in wells in Maine are only part of the story. Smith says high levels of arsenic, manganese, radon and even uranium have been detected in well water across the state.

He advises property owners test their well water every three to five years. He says a standard water test costs about $100. Smith says more than twenty percent of wells test positive for radon, a known carcinogen, so it is important to make sure radon is included in the screening.

"Radon is a challenge, because radon is not part of the standard water test and you have to make a specific request for that test kit," he explained.

Radon, uranium testing spikes with surge in home sales

For Portland native Kate McCabe, moving from a home hooked into the public water system to one with a private well was as much about having safe drinking water as it was about expanding the space for her growing family. So when the inspector for the house she and her husband planned to buy in North Yarmouth recommended thorough testing of the air and water, McCabe, who has a 2-year-old and another baby on the way, readily agreed. And she's glad she did. The test results showed extremely high air and water radon and water uranium readings, and she almost backed out of the deal.

"I tried to talk to as many people as I could as fast as I could," says McCabe, 35. "I called at least 10 different companies." She decided to negotiate with the sellers to pay for air and water mitigation systems, and after they agreed to pay the nearly $18,000 expense, she agreed to the sale and plans to move in toward the end of September, after the systems are installed.

Element of the week: Radon

This week's element is radon, which has the chemical symbol Rn and the atomic number 86. Radon is the largest and heaviest of the noble gases that are known to exist, and thus, it's the last one we will meet. Radon's name is derived from radium, a radioactive element that emits radon as it decays. For this reason, radon was originally known as "radium emanation", although it was also known as thoron ("thorium emanation") and actinon ("actinium emanation") since it was also emitted by these elements. In 1912, the name, niton (derived from Latin for "shining" in recognition of its radioluminosity), with the chemical symbol, Nt, was approved as the name for radon. This name was formally changed to radon in 1923 after it was realised that thoron and actinon were also radioisotopes of the same nobel gas.

Iowa Senate Says Schools Should Test for Radon

Schools would be required to test for radon, a colorless, odorless gas that can leak through cracks in building foundations, under legislation that passed the Iowa Senate on Wednesday.

The measure won bipartisan support, passing through Senate 37-13. It now moves to the House.

The bill would require public and private schools to test for the gas and install a system to expel it from buildings. It also would require residential construction companies to install pipes to extract the gas from homes built after Jan. 1, 2015.

Bill sponsor Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, said it would be negligent for lawmakers to do nothing to protect Iowa residents from radon.

Radon Bill Passes Senate, Will Be Put Into Action

A bill inspired by a KSL investigation made it through the Senate Thursday evening, the last night of the legislative session, and will soon be put into action.

SCR11 is a resolution taking aim at Utah's radon gas problem. It the first action Utah has taken on the issue, despite over two decades of warnings.

However, the resolution is not a law; it's a request asking homeowners to test for radon, realtors to educate and government agencies to give time and money to the cause. It also designates January 2014 as Utah State Radon Action Month. In short, the resolution is more about education than mandates.

Experts Stress Radon Gas Awareness

Andrew Gilbert wants Minnesotans to test for radon.

A colorless, odorless and radioactive gas that comes from soil, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

“We need to stress that this is a persistent health risk in Minnesota,” said Gilbert, a radon program specialist at the MDH.

Minnesota and several other states require homes to have working carbon monoxide detectors, but most states don’t mandate radon testing.

“Ironically, the risk from dying from radon that you are exposed to in the home is about 70 times greater than dying from carbon monoxide exposure in the home,” said Bill Angell, a University of Minnesota professor who has studied indoor air quality and radon extensively.

The MDH estimates one in three Minnesota homes has radon levels that pose a severe health risk for people over many years of exposure, and experts say testing is needed.

Radon Primer: How to Test Your Home For It, and Make Fixes If Needed

When news of elevated indoor-radon risk in the Portland area broke last month, I figured saying home test kits were "widely available" and briefly describing the typical fix would do the trick.

Wrong. The questions from readers, co-workers and neighbors keep coming in.

The risk is real -- radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking -- though not astronomical. The Environmental Protection Agency figures 21,000 people a year, 18,000 smokers and 3,000 nonsmokers, die of lung cancer from exposure from radon, a radioactive gas drawn from soil into homes.

American Association of Radon Scientists & Technologists Announces New ANSI National Standard That Will Reduce Radioactive Gas in New Homes

The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) announced that a new standard, ANSI/AARST CCAH-2013, “Reducing Radon in New Construction of 1 & 2 Family Dwellings and Townhouses” was approved on January 11, 2013 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

The new standard, referred to as RRNC 2.0, was promulgated by the AARST consensus standards writing consortium and provides code specific language for dealing with radon in new construction. The new RRNC 2.0 standard provides a tool to make sure that new homes do not create radon risk for occupants or long term liabilities for developers, bankers and builders.

David Kapturowski, Vice President of AARST, and Chair of the AARST standards committee that created the new document, said that this will be an important contribution to radon risk reduction in the United States.