7-19-2014 – Minnesota home sellers are dealing with a new radon disclosure law. Health experts lobbied to enact the disclosure law by arguing long-term radon exposure kills 700 people each year in Minnesota. According to the EPA, radon causes over 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the U.S., and the risk of death rises in proportion with the levels of radon. The odorless, colorless gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and is produced by the decay of uranium and radium found in soil. Sources: http://www.keyc.com/story/26044895/minnesota-home-sellers-deal-with-new-radon-law and http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/07/16/minnesota-radon-rules
Well, I have learned a bit more about Radon Gas testing. I am aware that Radon gas (I’ve been told caused by decaying granite under the earth’s surface) does exist everywhere on the planet at various levels, has been linked to cancer, and if found at a certain level, the EPA recommends mitigation (i.e., continuous removal). I recently was informed that gas levels vary with atmospheric pressures during the day and between days. I understand that a test over 2 or more days detects highs and lows and takes an average over that time period.
10-29-12: Updated article on Radon Gas: Testing for Radon Gas levels is still advised and mitigation systems with sealants help cut the vulnerability – http://www.northjersey.com/realestate/176140701_Radon_still_a_concern_for_buyers__sellers.html
Information about Radon Gas testing and services can be found at both EPA Guide to Radon Gas and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs website. You can actually order a $6.50 test kit to test for Radon gas at your home and I believe the results are tested by UGA labs. However, other independent labs exist that are setup for performing tests like Pro Lab. Many home inspectors can provide testing and independent laboratory review.
Tests can be performed using charcoal canisters or electronic devices and performed by professional home inspectors can run from $100-200. Minimum test periods of 48 hours will give enough swings in levels to identify variance in levels.
If you choose to mitigate the radon gas, then you can seek contractors from http://www.radongas.org/ or http://www.nrsb.org/. For the “do it yourselfer”, you could also try to install systems yourself (I recommend a professional help you) through Radon Gas kits.
Another information source about testing Radon Gas with do-it-yourself kits or through professionals: http://seattletimes.com/html/homesrealestate/2019417162_homefix14xml.html
References to products and services are not a specific endorsement, but the user must perform their due diligence and investigate whether the product or service is right for them. I welcome any or all comments that would help others.