In 2009, the Minnesota Building Code defined three types of at risk radon homes within the state. Out of the residential homes, 40 percent suffered from high radon levels, a small fraction of those homeowners were given a hefty bill to install active radon systems, and the remaining 60 percent of homes has naturally low radon levels. The trouble that many states have issues with when it comes to radon is that it all depends on the geology of the property the home is build on and whether or not they have an effective radon removal system.
The change to the code in 2009 required that builders install passive radon systems in every new home. The original 40 percent of homes that suffered from high levels of radon has now dipped to 20 percent, considering that determining the level of radon on a piece of property is a gamble. However, for the remaining homes with high radon levels, the state has provided a low cost solution and all the homeowners have to do is pay to add a radon fan and monitoring system.
While there is still 20 percent of homes that do not have this new radon removal system, the state has made it clear that it is not required because a majority of these properties do not have high levels of radon to begin with. The only downside to expelling this cancer causing chemical from a home is that many are being charged for the pre-installed radon mitigation system, which is something that homeowners did not have to spend money on before.
Ever since the 1980′s, half a million Americans have died from radon induced lung cancer. Over the past 30 years, many homes have not been made aware of the risk. Those who are given the fatal diagnosis of cancer from the radioactive gas, radon have a 50% chance to live for one year and a terrifying 15% chance to live for five years.
The outside levels of radon will always read low, however it is when it seeps in through cracks within your home that it begins to accumulate and cause problems. To heighten the reality more, extended exposure to the gas, even below the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Radon Action Level,” causes 21,000 deaths by lung cancer each ear. The gas produces radioactive particles that decay and destroy the cells lining the lungs.
While there are many companies that make it their mission to removing radon from homes, many people still believe that Congress needs to put together an order for building homes to reduce the radon levels. In 1988, Congress attempted to order the E.P.A. to reduce the public’s exposure to radon; however, there has been very minimal progress. In 2008, the agencies Officer of Inspection found that the E.P.A. went through a 20 year period where they failed to notify Congress they were not meeting their goals to lower radon exposure in homes, schools, and office buildings.
According to the New York Times, The E.P.A.’s proposed 2013 budget would eliminate all money to help states promote radon awareness, oversee professional testing and reduce the risks of exposure. The best ways to eliminate radon gas from your home is to look into purchasing a new air conditioning system, and call radon removers to help your home get back to normal.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, any radon reading over 4 is deemed dangerous. So, last week when the county courthouse had a radon reading higher than 60, all officials evacuated immediately. Knox County Sheriff, David Clague, suggests two solutions to the dangerous problem.
The EPA has declared radon as a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. The key issue people suffer from with radon is that it is tasteless, odorless and invisible. Sheriff Clague recommended installing a new radon mitigation system that would cost around $250,000 or they could install a $1.7 million air conditioning and heating system to help with the airflow in the old building. However, Clague would not commit to either of his suggestions because the long term costs are unforeseen. It is unknown if an air conditioning system with such a large price tag will even work.
The other options to save this courthouse are more burdening and they both require relocation. The moving aspect falls under either building a new courthouse, or moving to an existing building to demolish the old one due to the radon air. The Knox County courthouse remains closed until the city officials decide what to do with the property. Sheriff Clague is set to give the officials a tour of the building towards the end of July to determine where to go from there.
All meetings regarding what to do with the courthouse have been held off until the end of the month then, the city officials will sit down and discuss all possible outcomes and whether or not to demolish the building. The meetings will focus on safety and the budget.