Prolonged exposure to radon is responsible for 505 deaths annually in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
Radon usually comes from the surrounding rocks and soil under your home's foundation and can enter through cracks and openings on the lowest level of your home.
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.
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Place the kit for a few days, away from ventilation and use the winter months to test your home. The Lincoln County Health Department recommends testing for radon if you have never tested your home before or during real estate transactions. However, radon exposure at any level poses some health risk, and homeowners may want to consider reducing radon levels if they are greater than 2 pCi/L. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. Healthy Teton County's Community Health Improvement Plan created a radon action group to increase the number of homes and buildings in the county that test for radon. "Since you can't see or smell radon, people tend to forget the health effects that radon can have", says Meghan Williams, Environmental Health Specialist for Lincoln County Health Department. The aggregated information from the test results will be used to update statewide Radon Potential Maps, which show the likelihood of radon in a specific region. There is no safe level of Radon; however, the EPA has set the lowest level where action should be taken to reduce radon levels in the home at 4 pCi/L. Twenty-nine percent of homes tested were above the 4 picoCuries per liter of air threshold. Or you may wish to seek the services of one of many local licensed radon measurement professionals.
If you are looking to test your home for radon, you can check out Safety Siren Radon Gas Detectors at the Longmont Public Library. "Testing for radon is simple and cheap", Marshall said.
Testing kits can also be purchased at the American Lung Association website or by calling 1-800-LUNG-USA. Such systems should be installed by a certified mitigation contractor.