Upcoming Minnesota law change involves radon reportingStarting Jan. 1, sellers will be asked more specifically if their home has ever been tested for the toxic gas, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.
By: Associated Press report, MPR.org / 100.5 FM
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota public health officials hope a law change involving radon reporting will spur more buyers and sellers to test for the radioactive gas.
Sellers currently have to report whether they are aware of a radon problem in their home. Starting Jan. 1, sellers will be asked more specifically if their home has ever been tested for the toxic gas, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.
“Any prudent buyer, given the health risk, would have a radon test,” said Bill Angell, a radon and indoor air quality expert at the University of Minnesota.
Angell supports the new disclosure law, which also requires sellers to give a radon warning statement and a “Radon in Real Estate Transactions” fact sheet to buyers. Both documents highlight the dangers of radon exposure.
“Your risk, if you're a Minnesota citizen, of dying from radon exposure in your home is several times greater than your risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident,” Angell said.
The naturally occurring radioactive gas can seep into homes from the ground and contaminate the air and cause lung cancer. The Minnesota Department of Health estimates that long-term exposure to the gas kills 700 people each year in the state.
Minnesota's new disclosure law is modeled after legislation enacted nearly six years ago by Illinois lawmakers. Since then, Illinois has seen a four to five fold increase in the number of radon tests conducted in the state, and radon mitigations have doubled.
Health officials estimate that 2,500 to 3,000 homeowners mitigate radon each year. Radon program supervisor Dan Tranter says while that's a step in the right direction, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of thousands of homes and other residential buildings in the state that need radon mitigation.
“We'd like to see a much bigger change occur in people's exposure to radon,” he said.
Minnesota's new radon law also applies to new construction. The Builders Association of Minnesota says it has been using the radon disclosure language in all of its new home contracts since August.
Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard in Duluth on 100.5 FM and online at MPRNews.org.