The Minnesota Department of Health is promoting a new interactive statewide map of radon levels to encourage residents to test for the carcinogenic gas.
The department said about two in five homes have dangerously high radon levels. Dan Tranter, supervisor of the Health Department's radon program, said he hopes the new map will spur people to test for the gas, which is the No. 2 cause of lung cancer.
All homes should be tested for radon even where the new map suggests the overall radon threat is relatively low, Tranter said.
"There are differences between counties when you look at the map you'll see southern Minnesota [and] western Minnesota tend to have higher radon levels, but we do see high radon levels across the state," said Tranter. "Every county, every ZIP code has high radon levels. So the way the public should use this is to stimulate their interest in the subject."
The new map is not just for homeowners, Tranter stressed.
"It provides a lot of data to the public but not just the public but other stakeholders like policy makers, housing officials, public officials and nonprofit health groups," said Tranter.
Tranter said where radon is a problem, mitigation systems can be installed for an average cost of $1500 to $2,000.