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April 16, 2024

Good article in the April 16, 2024 Star Tribune, entitled "Three south metro cities tackle high radium levels". The complete article is attached below but some takeaways:

  • City officials are using different strategies to reduce levels of the naturally occurring carcinogen, from building a new water treatment plant to buying more water from a neighboring city.

  • According to the Department of Health, everyone is exposed to radiation in daily life. But a person has a higher risk of getting cancer if they drink water with radium in it every day for many years.

  • Aging infrastructure has been the primary reason for exceedances

  • Radioactivity is a difficult thing to measure. While testing for other contaminants has an "allowable variability" of 10%, for radium it's much higher, at 30%.

In addition, I would add:

  • Radon is produced from the natural decay of uranium and radium, found in rocks and soil. Uranium breaks down to radium, and radium eventually decays into the gas radon. Radon gas is in the soil and common throughout Minnesota. Because soil is porous, radon moves up from the soil and into the home. It can then accumulate in the air and become a health concern.

  • Radon is a serious public health concern in Minnesota. The average radon level in Minnesota is more than three times higher than the U.S. radon level. This is due to our geology and how our homes are operated. Minnesota homes are closed up or heated most of the year, which can result in higher levels of radon. In Minnesota, more than two in five homes have radon levels that pose a significant health risk.

  • Individuals conducting radon measurement in Minnesota are required to be licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). West Egg is fully compliant with their licensing and calibration of equipment.

High Radium Levels_StarTribune04162024
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