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  • Writer's picturePatrick Crooks

What is Radon?

Updated: Mar 15

Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is naturally occurring in the environment. It is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon gas can enter homes through the ground and accumulate in indoor spaces, posing health risks to the occupants. Here's why radon is a concern for homebuyers in Minnesota:

  1. Health Risks: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. When radon gas is inhaled, it can break down into tiny radioactive particles that can damage the cells lining the lungs. Prolonged exposure to high levels of radon increases the risk of lung cancer, particularly in those who smoke or have a history of smoking.

  2. Colorless and Odorless: Radon is undetectable by human senses. Because it has no taste, color, or odor, people are often unaware of its presence. This means that without testing, you won't know if your home has elevated radon levels.

  3. Ubiquitous: Radon is found everywhere to some extent. It can be present in soil, rock, and groundwater. Some regions have higher concentrations of radon due to the geological composition of the area. It's not limited to certain types of homes or neighborhoods.

  4. Variability: Radon levels can vary significantly from one home to another, even in close proximity. A neighboring home may have significantly different radon levels. Therefore, testing is the only way to determine the radon levels in a specific property.

  5. Mitigation Costs: If high radon levels are detected in a home, mitigation measures may be necessary to reduce radon exposure to safe levels. Mitigation can involve sealing cracks and gaps in the foundation, improving ventilation, or installing radon mitigation systems. The cost of mitigation can be a concern for homebuyers.

  6. Resale and Liability: If you decide to sell your home in the future, the presence of high radon levels can be a liability. Many potential buyers may request radon test results before making an offer, and elevated levels could impact the resale value or the speed of the sale.

For these reasons, homebuyers are often encouraged to consider radon testing as part of their due diligence when purchasing a property, especially in areas with a known history of radon issues. Testing can provide peace of mind and, if necessary, allow for mitigation measures to be taken to reduce radon levels to safe levels, ultimately protecting the health of the occupants.

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