Free test kits available for Radon Action Month
In an effort to help prevent lung cancer from exposure to 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 National Radon Action Month and is a perfect time to test homes for radon because windows and doors are typically closed. The test kit is simple and easy to use with detailed instructions, and includes a pre-paid and addressed envelope to send it to the lab for analysis.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, approximately 40 percent of Eagle County homes have radon gas above the Environmental Protection Agency recommended “action limit.” The EPA states that the normal level of radon found in outside air is around 0.4 pCi/L (Picocuries per Liter of Air), and the action limit for radon in a home is 4.0 pCi/L. The most common time for radon testing in homes is during a real estate transaction. However, in Eagle County you can test your home for free anytime by simply picking up a kit. Kits are limited to two per household per year.
Radon is an invisible, odorless, radioactive soil gas that enters homes through cracks in solid floors or walls, construction joints, crawl spaces and gaps in suspended floors or around service pipes. Once inside a home, 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 over 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year.
“We are proud to once again partner with Walking Mountains and other community organizations to raise awareness of the risks of radon in homes and provide free radon test kits that could make a difference in preventing lung cancer,” said Kim Sharkey, oncology operations director for Vail Health’s Shaw Cancer Center.
The following steps are recommended for learning about radon levels in your home:
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- Step 1: Complete a short-term test, if results are 4.0 pCi/L or higher move to step 2.
- Step 2: Complete a follow up test, if results are 4.0 pCi/L or higher move to step 3. If your first short-term test result is more than twice the EPA’s 4.0 pCi/L action level, you should take a second short-term test immediately! Long-term tests are also an option for follow-up, this gives 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 4.0 pCi/L or higher. Radon mitigation is available by several local certified 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!
“Short-term test kits are easy to use and are the first step in determining whether your family is at risk,” said Vanesa Doty, environmental health specialist for Eagle County Public Health and Environment.
Walking Mountains’ Energy Programs Director Nikki Maline notes: “In addition, Walking Mountains’ Energy Smart Colorado program has rebates available for local homes who get radon mitigation completed should elevated radon levels be detected.”
A home energy assessment is required for this rebate, which is a thorough energy audit of your home including checking combustion appliances for safe operation and recommendations of energy-saving measures. To schedule a home energy assessment or learn more about rebates, residents are encouraged to visit walkingmountains.org/energy. To learn more about radon visit colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/radon or call Eagle County Environmental Health at 970-328-8755.
Free radon test kits are available year-round at:
- Eagle County Environmental Health Department desk – 550 Broadway in Eagle
- El Jebel Community Center – 20 Eagle County Drive in El Jebel
- Front Desk at Walking Mountains Science Center – 318 Walking Mountains Lane in Avon
- Shaw Cancer Center Front Desk (January Only) – 322 Beard Creek Road in Edwards.
If someone is unable to pick up a test in person or has questions, contact Diego Betts at Walking Mountains by email at email@example.com or call 970-328-8777.