Colorado residents urged to test their homes for radon during national action month

Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can cause lung cancer if inhaled over a long period of time. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking. It is estimated that about 21,000 Americans die from radon-related lung cancer every year.

What is radon and where does it come from?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is produced by the decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It can seep into buildings through cracks and openings in the foundation, walls, and floors. Radon levels can vary widely depending on the geology, construction, and ventilation of the area. Some regions have higher radon potential than others, such as Colorado, which has one of the highest radon levels in the country.

Why is radon testing important?

The only way to know if your home has high radon levels is to test it. Testing is easy and inexpensive, and can be done with a do-it-yourself kit or by a certified professional. The EPA recommends testing your home every two years, or whenever you make any changes to your home that could affect the airflow, such as remodeling, weatherization, or installing a new heating or cooling system.

Colorado residents

The EPA also advises that you take action to reduce your radon exposure if your test results show that your home has radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. This is the level at which the EPA recommends fixing your home. However, the EPA also states that there is no safe level of radon, and that any exposure to radon increases your risk of lung cancer. Therefore, you may also consider fixing your home if your radon levels are between 2 and 4 pCi/L.

How can you fix your home if it has high radon levels?

The most common and effective way to lower your radon levels is to install a radon mitigation system. This is a vent pipe system with a fan that draws radon from beneath the house and releases it outside. A radon mitigation system can reduce your radon levels by up to 99 percent. However, you should always hire a qualified radon contractor to install, maintain, and monitor your radon mitigation system, as improper installation or operation can cause more harm than good.

What is the national radon action month and what can you do to participate?

January is the national radon action month, a campaign that aims to raise awareness and encourage action on radon testing and mitigation. The campaign is supported by various federal, state, and local agencies, as well as health and environmental organizations, such as the EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Lung Association, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

During this month, you can take several steps to protect yourself and your family from radon, such as:

  • Ordering a free or low-cost radon test kit from the CDPHE website or from your local health department.
  • Testing your home for radon and sharing your results with your friends, family, and neighbors.
  • If your home has high radon levels, contacting a certified radon contractor to install a radon mitigation system.
  • Encouraging your school, workplace, and community to test for radon and take action if needed.
  • Learning more about radon and its health effects from reliable sources, such as the EPA, the CDC, and the American Lung Association.

By taking these steps, you can help save lives and prevent radon-related lung cancer.

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