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Radon Information For Minnesota

Submitted by SterlingBrown on Fri, 03/29/2019 - 15:41

Radon Information For Minnesota

There are some facts you should know about Radon gas as it applies to homes. Radon is a risk to health. It is accepted that it is the most prevalent cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and the second most prevalent cause of lung cancer overall.

There is no generally agreed international standard for the levels at which radon is not a risk to human health. In the United States the action level established by the Environmental Protection Agency is 4 pCi per liter. At this point the recommendation is a mitigation program to reduce those levels to a safer level. Between two and 4 pCi per liter it is recommended that consideration be given to mitigation systems.

Testing for radon gas and homes is becoming more and more common during real estate transactions. States are emphasizing the importance in an effort to reduce the incidence of lung cancer. In an effort to assure that radon testing is done properly and mitigation systems are properly engineered to be effective several states have instituted regulations and licensing. Homeowners are not required to be licensed or registered to make their own radon measurements.

Several companies sell kits to allow homeowner to perform the test on their own and then send the kit back to a laboratory to obtain the results of the test. Some communities or municipalities provide free kits if you contact them. As you might imagine, proper placement and treatment of the device are necessary to get meaningful results.

The various manufacturers have slightly different criteria for the proper treatment and placement of their devices. In general, though, they are quite similar.

The devices should be placed in a livable part of the house where livable part is defined as spaces where the occupants might spend four or more hours per day. Areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, closets, and unfinished basement areas or crawlspaces are not considered livable areas.

The measurement device should be placed as centrally as practical in the room avoiding areas where it might be disturbed. The device also should be located between two and six feet above the floor to place it in what might be considered the likely breathable area during occupancy.

The list of don’t do’s is much longer than the do’s.

The measurement device should be placed well out of drafts, 3 feet away from exterior walls, doors, halls, windows and heating or AC units. It should not be placed near fireplaces, baseboard heaters, or stoves, and the recommendation is to keep the device out of direct sunlight.

Reading this you might well think that anyone could do it by simply following the directions on the package or included with the device.

A radon services provider would follow the same guidelines in placing a continuous radon monitor. The point being, radon measurement is not technically challenging for anyone who can follow simple directions. Continuous radon monitors do require calibration on an annual basis to guarantee their continued accuracy.

Effective January 1, 2019 Minnesota and acted regulations governing those who measure radon and those who mitigate radon. Full details may be accessed at https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/air/radon/measure....

In essence these new regulations require that anyone offering radon measurement services pass a 16 hour course on radon, pass a proctored test offered by one of the two or three nationally recognized radon measurement associations, submit to the state a list of all of the radon monitors devices that utilize, produce a quality assurance plan, complete an online application accompanied by $150 fee.

After starting operation the service provider must take 8 hours of continuing education annually and file quarterly reports of all of the radon tests they have performed. This report will include all of the following;

  • Address of testing location
  • Start and end date of test
  • Type of device used
  • If the test was an initial, follow-up, or post-mitigation test
  • If the test was part of a real estate transaction
  • Reported radon concentration
  • Age and type of building tested
  • Whether a mitigation system was present and the system tag number (if applicable).

The service provider will also be required to maintain records of all calibration and repairs to equipment for a period of three years after the inspection.

It appears the service provider may also be required to provide some personal information about the property owner and client. They state that the service provider will; “Make available, to MDH, records, equipment, addresses, property owners and residents, and employees.”

It appears likely that some unintended consequences of these regulations will be a reduction in the number of service providers due to the fact it would be difficult for smaller companies to maintain profitability in providing the services with the additional financial burden of obtaining licensing and maintaining licensing and the requirements for frequent reporting. It also seems inevitable that some providers will just stop providing that service and likely that costs for radon measurements may well increase because of the increased financial and administrative burden placed on the service providers.

The impact on customers can be increased cost for the service and longer delays in obtaining the service due to fewer providers, all for a simple task that anyone might be expected to perform properly.

Submitted by SterlingBrown on Fri, 03/29/2019 - 15:41