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New Law To Reveal Radon Testing To Home Buyers

PLYMOUTH, Minn. (WCCO) -- Drive down any residential block in Minnesota and the hidden risk of radon is there. That's because according to state health experts, 40 percent of all homes have radon levels above the danger threshold.

"It's so important because it effects people's health," said Rocky Funk, a radon consultant.

Funk's is a former home inspector who started a company called The Radon Guys, which offers radon testing and mitigation work for homeowners and businesses.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is a byproduct of decaying uranium in the earth's crust. The radium gas gradually migrates through the soil and seeps into homes through floor cracks and other foundation openings in the basement.

Over time, it exposes occupants to dangerous levels of the carcinogen. The EPA has set an action level of 4 picocuries per liter of air. Any reading above that is cause for additional testing or radon mitigation work.

"It's easy to test, it doesn't cost much," Funk said. "The fix itself is not that expensive either, and it's relatively easy to do."

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, all real estate transactions in Minnesota must disclose if a radon test was performed. Under the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act, passed by the 2013 Legislature, if a radon test was performed on a home the results of the test, including possible mitigation, must also be disclosed.

"What the law requires is disclosure notification be done at the time of signing of purchase agreement. So that does give the opportunity to the buyer to ask to have a test done, for example, as part of a home inspection," said Dan Tranter, of the state Health Department.

For between $10 and $40, a homeowner can do the test themselves. Testing kits are sold at most hardware and home improvement stores.

Performing the simple test can both bring peace of mind to homeowners and a greater level of trust to home transactions.

While the law taking effect in January requires test disclosure, it does not require homeowners to perform radon testing.

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