Spending more time at home during the pandemic? Test your house for radon

Minnesota health officials are urging people to get their homes tested for radon this winter—a radioactive gas that can pose a health risk if there are high levels of it in your home. 

People are spending more time than ever at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which increases their potential exposure to household health hazards like radon, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that comes from the soil. It is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and is attributed to over 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States every year. 

MDH says radon is a series public health concern in Minnesota, where the average radon level is three times higher than the U.S. radon level. This is in part because homes here are closed up or heated most of the year, which can result in higher levels of radon. 

Any amount of radon poses a health risk, and while it’s not possible to reduce radon to zero, the lower the level of radon in your home the better. Testing your home for radon and fixing any radon problems can mitigate the risk. 

An MDH study found about 40% of homes in Minnesota have dangerous levels of radon, but only about 1% are tested. The study also found radon testing and mitigation is less frequent in communities with lower incomes and more renters. 

MDH says the best time to test for radon is during the colder months when the heat is on, but testing can be done year round.

More information about how to test your home for radon can be found here