MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/29/2010) --Leading University of Minnesota radon researcher William Angell will join U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar at a news conference where Klobuchar will announce federal legislation she is introducing to reduce exposure to cancer-causing radon gas in homes.
The news conference will take place 11 a.m. Friday, April 30 at the home of Dave Hansen and Karen Lilley, 2079 Dudley Ave., St. Paul.
Angell, a housing studies faculty member in the university's College of Design and a U of M Extension housing technology specialist, is one of the world's foremost experts on the presence of radon gas in homes and consulted with Klobuchar's staff in drafting the bill.
Radon is an odorless, colorless and radioactive gas created by the decay of uranium in soil. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking), responsible for more 20,000 deaths each year in the United States, including an estimated 1,000 deaths each year in Minnesota.
Indoor residential exposure occurs when radon gas enters through cracks in floors, walls and construction joints, or gaps in foundations around pipes, wires and pumps.
Although radon exists naturally in every part of the country, Minnesota has one of the highest concentrations. In addition, radon is a more serious concern in Minnesota because of cold-weather building methods that tend to seal air inside the home. Also, many Minnesota homes have basements that are used for living spaces. The Minnesota Health Department estimates that more than one-third of all homes in the state have dangerous radon levels.
Several years ago, Minnesota passed landmark state legislation that requires all new homes (as of June 2009) to have radon ventilation systems.
Visit Extension's Housing Technology site for more information on radon resources in Minnesota at http://www.extension.umn.edu/HousingTech.