Colorado State University Larimer County Extension is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in a statewide campaign in January to educate citizens about the dangers of radon exposure and to encourage them to take action to protect their families. The winter months are an ideal time to test your home to determine if it has elevated radon levels.
Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless, invisible, tasteless gas that is dispersed in outdoor air, but which can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings. Radon comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. The risk of developing lung cancer from radon gas comes from radon seeping undetected into your home from the soil through foundation cracks, dirt floors, loose fitting pipes, slab joints or block walls.
Radon has been identified as a risk factor in developing lung cancer because it decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in the lungs. It is estimated that radon may be responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. The Surgeon General, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Lung Association, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association have all identified indoor radon pollution as a national health problem.
The amount of radon in the air is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The EPA set 4 pCi/L as a recommended action level. All of Colorado is located in Zone 1, which means these areas have a predicted average indoor screening level greater than 4 pCi/L. It is recommended that each home in Colorado be tested, regardless of geographic location or a neighbor’s test result. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to mitigate it for the price of a typical home repair.
Every house is different. Only individual testing can determine if your home may have a radon problem. Measuring radon levels in the home is simple and inexpensive.
To learn more about radon and to receive a free short-term radon test kit, plan to attend a radon program at the Larimer County Extension office, 1525 Blue Spruce Drive, Fort Collins on Jan. 20, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. or January 23, noon to 1 p.m. RSVP to Karen Crumbaker, 970-498-6003 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit the Larimer County Extension web site at http://www.larimer.org/ext, Fact Sheet #9.953.