January is National Radon Action Month; prepare to test your home

Lawrence Kim
January 12, 2018

The Health Department's Healthy Neighborhood Program provides free, home radon testing for low to moderate-income families and seniors. Radon seeps through cracks and openings in the basement and foundation of homes.

To help residents test homes (owned or rented), the Colorado State University Extension Office in La Plata County will provide whatever test kits are needed (short-term or long-term) at no cost. All they do is simply peel off the label, you set it about over 20 inches off the ground in your lowest livable level of your home.

Susan Martino, an environmental health specialist at Boulder County Public Health and a project coordinator for the Front Range Public Health Regional Radon Roadmap Project, was present at the city council meeting and accepted the proclamation.

Decades of scientific research have shown a strong correlation between breathing harmful concentrations of radon gas - over long periods of time - with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Testing involves placing a small device in the home for at least 48 hours and then sending the device to a laboratory for results.

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in most soil and can cause lung cancer. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers.

Testing for radon is easy and affordable. "[Because] houses settle things happen and so you know every four or five years run another test to make sure".

Radon levels in the outdoors are usually harmless; however, radon can build up indoors to risky levels. There is no safe level for radon, but the EPA and U.S. Surgeon General recommend fixing homes that have levels at or above 4pCi/L (picocurie per liter). Options for remediation of radon in the home are available at the CDPH Indoor Radon Program. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. If high levels of radon are detected, licensed contractors can install mitigation systems to eliminate the problem and protect you and your family.

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