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New Radon Law Requirements Put On Hold

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It could be anyone's basement in any part of the state, but what you won't see or smell, could spell serious danger.

"It's the leading cause of cancer in non-smokers," explains radon mitigation contractor, John Daly.

Minnesota's geology puts us at a higher risk of radon gas. It seeps into homes through cracks and crevices, filling the air we breathe.

Fortunately, there's a simple, low-cost test.

Says contractor Robert Carlson, "Just because one house has it, doesn't mean you have it. It can vary from house to house."

For roughly $10, this test kit will give a number. Anything over four needs mitigation.

But how will you know the work to correct the problem is being performed by a competent contractor? That's why the Minnesota Department of Health pushed the "Minnesota Radon Licensing Act." It changes existing law to require licensing and oversight of all radon contractors.

Once a test is performed, contractors like Carlson's Healthy Homes company will come in to make needed repairs.

Explains Carlson, "A quality system should get levels down below two and a healthy home should be at 1.9. The usual standard is to get it down below four."

That's what's being done to an Eden Prairie home. The owners are installing a powered venting system to safely pull gasses from under the concrete slab and send the dangerous air out through the roof.

Explains Midwest Radon Specialist's Daly, "So we put a suction point under the slab to create a bigger negative pressure under the slab. Now, if anything, we're losing conditioned air instead of the basement sucking in soil gasses."

Once the work is done, the contractor will come back into the home for a final test. That will make sure the mitigation work has solved the problem.

The average-sized home will cost about $1,700 dollars. It's the price of safer air -- and some peace of mind.

A recent change in state law will require that all radon contractors be licensed by the state. Homeowners will also be able to have their installations inspected to make sure they were done correctly.

In addition, the Health Department will maintain a database of work performed.

Those changes are not currently in effect due to an injunction issued after the requirements were challenged in court.

Contractors Carlson and Daly both support the law change saying the requirements will give homeowners added assurance that radon mitigation work is being performed correctly.

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