Health Notes: Minnesota law on radon tests takes effectThose little radon test kits you can buy in the hardware store probably will be more popular in Minnesota this year.
By: Compiled by John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Those little radon test kits you can buy in the hardware store probably will be more popular in Minnesota this year.
That’s because of a law that went into effect on Wednesday. It requires home sellers to inform buyers whether their home has been tested for radon. If it has been tested, the level has to be divulged. If mitigation was needed, it has to be reported if that was done.
So reports the Minnesota Department of Health, which notes in a statement the estimate that two of every five Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon.
What does that mean? It’s significant, the health department says, because radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It’s also the leading cause of lung cancer among people who don’t smoke. More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are attributed to radon.
The law’s impact also could be significant, the health department says, because about 100,000 homes are sold each year in the state. That’s not to say health officials want you to wait until you’re thinking of selling to have your house checked. But a similar law in Illinois led to a 400 percent increase in the rate of homes tested, the news release said.
The Minnesota law doesn’t require radon testing or mitigation, but it does require disclosure, the news release noted.
The test takes three to five days and is best done during the heating season.
Kits can be ordered online at mn.radon.com or at getaradontest.com.
Area agencies that distribute radon test kits and/or information are: Carlton County Public Health and Human Services, (218) 879-4511; and Cook County Environmental Health, (218) 387-3632.
Medicare questions addressed
Help is on the way for Medicare beneficiaries and preretirees with questions, but appointments are required.
The state agency known as Senior LinkAge Line will be available three times this month in Duluth:
The program is free, but donations are appreciated. They help pay for the administration of the program, which is provided by the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging.
To schedule an appointment, call Senior LinkAge Line at (800) 333-2433.
Help for quitters
If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to quit smoking, help is available through QuitPlan services, which provides free counseling services, as well as access to gum, lozenges and patches for Minnesotans trying to quit.
In a news release, the QuitPlan service noted that many of the state’s residents quit — or tried to — in July 2013. That’s because of a $1.60-per-pack increase on the cigarette tax that took effect on July 1. The plan’s helpline got 256 percent more calls during the first two weeks of July than during the same time the year before, it said.
The service essentially is funded by smokers. It’s operated by the nonprofit Clearway Minnesota, funded by money awarded from tobacco companies in the settlement of a 1998 lawsuit filed by the state of Minnesota and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
QuitPlan can be contacted at (888) 354-PLAN or online at quitplan.com.