Rental units remain untested after Radon testing deadline passes

8:15 PM, Mar 7, 2014   |    comments
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THOMASTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Landlords in the state of Maine are scrambling to comply with a four-and-a-half-year-old state law that many had forgotten, or never knew about.

The law required all residential rental properties to be tested for radon gas by March 1. 

Officials at the Maine Center for Disease Control, which oversees the radon program, said they believe many thousands of rental properties haven't been tested. 

Aaron Despres, President of Upcountry Building Inspectors in Scarborough, said his company has been working full speed for the last several months to keep up with the demand for radon tests.

Despres said he does not know why so many property owners waited until the last minute. 

Radon is an odorless gas that occurs naturally in the earth. It can cause lung cancer in high concentrations, according to The Maine CDC. Some areas of the state, such as the Sebago Lake region, are known to be high-radon risk areas.

The agency said it has sent out repeated mailings and press releases, and attended many meetings over the past few years about the testing requirement, but that many landlords "still seem surprised" to learn of the deadline. 

While there are proven ways to mitigate high radon levels by ventilating under the cellar floor, the law does not require any landlords to take those steps. 

However, the law does require landlords to inform tenants about radon levels, regardless of the levels that are found during the test.

For more information, visit the Maine CDC web for radon: http://1.usa.gov/1noZzda

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