The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 7, 2013

Radon mitigation is becoming big business

MANKATO — Melissa Matthies regrets it now. But when it came time to set the closing date for the purchase of her home, she hadn’t thought to wait until the results of the radon tests came back.

Of course, after the sale was finalized and it was too late to back out, the results came back with bad news.

The Environmental Protection Agency says a safe level of radon in your home is 4 picocuries per liter. The radon in Matthies’ home measured 56.5 pCi/L.

She called her dad.

“He told me it was really high,” she said.

So she bit the bullet and called a professional radon mitigator to take care of the problem.

Andrew Kelley, owner of Radon Solutions, came to her aid.

It was a common call for Kelley, the kind he’s gets all the time these days.

“It used to be seasonal,” Kelley said. “Now, I’m busy year-round with it.”

They call carbon monoxide the silent killer. But that title could also apply to radon.

You can’t see it, smell it or taste it. And unlike carbon monoxide, it won’t hit you immediately. But it can kill you Ñ eventually.

Long-term exposure to radon, the Minnesota Department of Health said, can lead to lung cancer. Each year radon causes more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S.

Such deadly facts have lead the Department of Health to spread the word more and more each year about radon and its deadliness.

Here’s how radon works, according to the health department.

Radon comes from the soil. It occurs as a product of the natural decay of uranium that is found in small amounts in most soil. Uranium breaks down to radium. As radium disintegrates, it turns into a radioactive gas called radon. Radon moves up through the soil and into the air you breath.

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