NRCHS has free radon kits availableWORTHINGTON — In conjunction with Radon Action Month, Nobles-Rock Community Health Services is offering free radon testing kits to homeowners while supplies last. The kits may be picked up at the NRCHS office, located on the third floor of the Nobles County Government Center in downtown Worthington.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — In conjunction with Radon Action Month, Nobles-Rock Community Health Services is offering free radon testing kits to homeowners while supplies last. The kits may be picked up at the NRCHS office, located on the third floor of the Nobles County Government Center in downtown Worthington.
NRCHS Sanitarian Jason Kloss said the kit has easy-to-follow directions and it takes just a few days to get the results.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas emitted by uranium, a radioactive material commonly found in the soils across much of Minnesota. The gas gets into the home by seeping through cracks and crevices in concrete basements, exposed soil in cases of older homes with dirt floors, and through mortar joints. Those who live, sleep or spend a lot of time in the basement level are at a higher risk for exposure.
“Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers,” Kloss said, adding that one in three homes has radon levels that pose a significant health risk.
Roughly 80 percent of Minnesota counties are in the high radon risk area. Nobles County — and all of southwest Minnesota — falls into Zone 1, which has the highest risk. The Arrowhead Region of the state is at a slightly lower risk in Zone 2, Kloss said.
“The geology of our area (leads to) production of radon from the uranium, which is able to filter up to the surface, and we are at higher risk because of that,” he added. Nationwide, more than 21,000 deaths are attributed to radon each year.
Kloss used one of the test kits in his own home and said it comes with a booklet about radon to give homeowners more information if their test results are high.
The absorption kit is stored in an envelope, and a person simply needs to prop it open with a filter that is provided. The kit should be placed in the living area in the basement, and left there for no less than three days and no more than seven days.
“You then seal the envelope up and you mail it away,” Kloss said.
The results are measured by a lab, and the results can either be e-mailed to the homeowner or accessed online through a special code. They are typically available within a week.
“It’s easy and it gives you a fair guidance on whether further testing is needed,” he said. People with high readings are provided with information on radon remediation contractors and the methods to reduce radon levels in the home.
Kloss said contractors can put a radon reduction system in a home, which works to suction out the harmful gases and ventilate them to the outside.
This is the first year NRCHS has provided the free radon testing kits to the public. The program is made possible through the Minnesota Department of Health.
While Nobles County residents can pick up their free kit at the Worthington between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Rock County residents are asked to contact Kloss to request one be mailed to them. Kloss can be reached locally at 295-5280 or via e-mail at email@example.com.