5 Things You Must Know About Radon in Colorado
Radon is a killer that prowls stealthily and often goes undetected until it's too late and here are five things you must know about radon in Colorado.
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can be found inside your home. The EPA says there are millions of homes in the United States that have elevated levels of radon. The only way to know if it's in your house is to do a test.
Radon test kits are inexpensive, and the test is easy to perform, yet only one in five homeowners have had a test done for radon in their home.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says half the homes in Colorado have radon levels above the recommended threshold.
Here's what you need to know about radon in your Colorado home.
Radon Causes Lung Cancer
Behind smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America, killing about 21,000 people every year. When you inhale radon, it damages lung cells and nearly 3,000 of these deaths occur in people who have never smoked.
If you are a smoker, your chances of getting lung cancer from radon increase dramatically. The easiest way to reduce the risk is to stop smoking - and to have your home tested for radon.
How is Radon Produced?
Radon is the result of the radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It gets into the air that you breathe and becomes a health risk.
The gas can get into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation of your house. The EPA says one out of every 15 homes is likely to have elevated levels of radon.
Radon is found all over the country, and can get into any type of building whether it's a school, a home, or an office. You spend the majority of your time at home which is why your house represents the greatest risk to you and your family.
Radon Testing is Easy
A short-term radon test takes just 2 or 3 days. Basically, the kit is placed in your home and left undisturbed for the duration. At the end of the test you send the kit to a specified lab for analysis. The test results should get back to you in a few weeks.
In some cases, a long-term test lasting more than 90 days is more desirable to give you an accurate measure of what your year-round average radon level.
Reducing the Radon Level in Your Home
If you have high radon levels in your home, there are some things you can do to help reduce the danger.
Sealing cracks in the foundation and other openings is a good start. Depending on the design of your home, a ventilation system can be installed to draw the radon out of your of your home.
if you end up needing to go this route, hiring a qualified contractor who is trained to fix radon problems is highly recommended.
The EPA says fixing radon problems in your home is about the same cost as other basic home repairs.
If You Are Buying or Selling A Home
The EPA recommends if you are buying or selling a home that you have it tested for radon.
If you are buying a new home, find out if radon-resistant construction features were used. If radon levels are 4 picocuries per liter or higher, the problem needs to be addressed.