Upon learning that one-third of tested Lynnhurst homes found elevated radon levels, the Lynnhurst Neighborhood Association is offering free test kits to residents.
“My husband’s colleague passed away due to lung cancer caused by radon emissions,” said Jessica Reinhardt, president of the Lynnhurst Neighborhood Association. “This really prompted me to revisit the issue as we have a family room in our basement where radon tends to be found in higher concentrations. I want to protect my children from developing health issues.”
The neighborhood stats, drawn from a sample of more than 1,500 tested homes, are comparable to the city and state’s radon levels, said Dan Tranter, supervisor of the Minnesota Dept. of Health Indoor Air Unit. Thirty-four percent of tested homes in Lynnhurst reported radon levels at or above 4 picocuries per liter, which is the threshold for highly-recommended radon mitigation.
“At level 4 your additional lung cancer risk over a lifetime is one in 100,” Tranter said.
When Reinhardt saw the radon data, she decided to spread the word to neighbors.
“I want them to be able to protect their families too. There are a lot of young families in Lynnhurst, and many people have converted some basement space into living spaces,” she said.
Radon is a naturally-occurring, odorless radioactive gas, and it’s more prevalent in geology common to the upper Midwest. Minnesotans are also vulnerable to the gas because of the long winter. As furnaces operate and hot air rises, houses suck in air from the soil to replace the rising air.
Tranter said homes’ radon levels can vary from neighbor to neighbor, depending on the soil, appliance use and available pathways for gas entry, such as sump pumps or crawl spaces.
Radon mitigation systems cost an average of $1,500, but Tranter said DIY installation could reduce that cost.
He said radon causes 21,000 cancer deaths per year in the U.S. and 600 per year in Minnesota.
“We recommend every home be tested,” Tranter said.
For a free test kit, contact [email protected]
For more information about radon, visit health.state.mn.us/radon.