The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is urging Minnesotans to test for a dangerous, naturally occurring gas that causes cancer. They report that only one-percent of homes are tested each year despite their efforts to inform the public.

January is Radon Action Month and again the department is urging residents to test their homes for radon levels and are offering an online tool on their website to increase interest.

In a news release from MDH, they state, "Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils, and enters homes through cracks or openings in walls or foundations. Radon is linked to more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today."

Minnesota radon levels are more than three times higher than average levels across the country. Officials say about 40-percent of Minnesota homes likely have dangerous levels of the gas.

Of those houses tested from 2010-2016, nearly half had high levels of radon. Dan Tranter, MDH indoor air supervisor says, "We recommend that every home in Minnesota be tested at least every five years, which means about 20 percent of properties should be tested each year."

High levels of radon can usually be remedied by installing a vent pipe according to the department. The MDH can be reached at 1-800-798-9050 for more information.

In other news, tours will be offered of Owatonna High School in advance of district vote on a bond referendum for a new school.