How to test your home for radon during Walking Mountains’ Radon Action Month
In an effort to help prevent lung cancer caused by radon gas, Walking Mountains Science Center’s Energy Smart Colorado program has partnered with Vail Health’s Shaw Cancer Center and Eagle County’s Environmental Health Department to raise awareness and offer free radon test kits.
January is Radon Action Month for Walking Mountains because it’s a perfect time to test homes for radon: Windows and doors are typically closed. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, approximately 50% of Colorado homes have radon gas above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended “action limit.”
The EPA’s website states that the normal level of radon found in outside air is around 0.4 picocuries per liter, and the action limit for radon in a home is 4 pCi/L. The most common time for radon testing in homes is during a real estate transaction, however, in Eagle County you can now test your home for free anytime by simply picking up a kit at various local sites.
Radon is an invisible, radioactive soil gas that enters homes through cracks in solid floors or walls, construction joints and gaps in suspended floors or around service pipes. Once inside, it mixes with the air we breathe, which can present a serious health risk if high levels of radon are inhaled over time. Radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and causes thousands of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year.
The following steps are recommended for learning about radon levels in your home:
STEP 1: Complete a short-term test. If results are 4 pCi/L or higher, move to step 2.
STEP 2: Complete a follow up test. If results are 4 pCi/L or higher move to step 3. If your first short-term test result is more than twice the EPA’s 4 pCi/L action level, you should take a second short-term test immediately. Long-term tests are also an option for follow-up. They will give you an understanding of your year-round average radon levels.
STEP 3: Mitigation is advised if the average of your first and second test is 4 pCi/L or higher. Radon mitigation is available by several local contractors and the Energy Smart Colorado program at Walking Mountains Science Center can get you a list. Call 970-328-8777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They also offer rebates with the completion of a home energy assessment.
To schedule a home energy assessment or learn more about rebates, visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/energy. To learn more about radon, visit http://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/radon or call Eagle County Environmental Health at 970-328-8755.