Hickenlooper urges Coloradans to test for radon gas | Health
Gov. Hickenlooper has signed a proclamation declaring January as Colorado Radon Action Month, a perfect time for Coloradans to test their homes for radon, a radioactive gas responsible for hundreds of Colorado cancer deaths each year. The colorless, odorless, tasteless gas enters homes through cracks in the floor or spaces around utility pipes and accumulates unless properly vented. Long-term radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers.
“January is an ideal month to test your home for radon, because short-term tests require closed windows and doors,” said Chrystine Kelley, radon program manager in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division. “Testing is easy, and it’s the only way to know for certain if your health is at risk, and if you need to install a mitigation system to prevent harm to you and your loved ones.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provides coupons for reduced-cost radon test kits at www.coloradoradon.info. The website also lists contractors certified by the National Environmental Health Association who install systems to remove or mitigate radon. Colorado residents also can call the state’s Radon Hotline at 1-800-846-3986 or check with their local health department, county extension office or public health nurse for radon information.
“The Environmental Protection Agency recommends installing a mitigation system if your home tests above four picocuries per liter of air,” explained Kelley. “Qualified contractors can seal cracks and install mitigation systems to prevent radon from infiltrating your home. Merely opening a window will not remove radon from the home.”
Radon results from the radioactive decay of uranium, which occurs naturally in soil. Due to Colorado’s geologic makeup, 52 of the state’s 64 counties are at high risk for radon. The gas moves unpredictably through soil, so it’s possible for radon to infiltrate one home, but not in a home next door.