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Radon, Real Estate and the new Minnesota Radon Awareness Act

December 3, 2013 |  Article By : 

While you may remember radon as a gas from your chemistry’s Periodic Table, you may not remember much about this low lying gas that has become a major concern for Minnesota buyers and sellers.  This concern is so high, there is now an Act that addresses disclosure of radon. radon Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that seeps up from the earth.  When inhaled, it gives off radioactive particles that can damage the cells that line the lung.  Long term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer.  In fact, over 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the US each year are from radon, making it a serious health concern for all Minnesotans. Radon is produced from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. Uranium breaks down to radium. As radium disintegrates it turns into radioactive gas…radon.  As a gas, radon moves up through the soil and into the air you breathe.  How serious is this?  “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Surgeon General’s Office have estimated that as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by radon.  Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.  Radon-induced lung cancer costs the United States over  $2 billion dollars per year in both direct and indirect health care costs. (Based on National Cancer Institute statistics of 14,4000 annual radon lung cancer deaths.—Oster, Colditz & Kelley, 1984)”. Effective January 1, 2014, the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act requires additional disclosure and education be provided to potential home buyers during residential real estate transactions in Minnesota.  Before signing a purchase agreement to sell or transfer residential real property, the seller shall disclose in writing to the buyer any knowledge the seller has of radon concentrations in the dwelling.  This new Minnesota Act does not require radon testing or mitigation.  However, many relocation companies and lending institutions, as well as home buyers, require a radon test when purchasing a house.  To learn more about what is required for both buyers and sellers, visit http://www.health.state.mn.us/radonsalefor more information.