January is Radon Action Month, free test kits available in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

January is Radon Action Month, free test kits available in Eagle County

Radon is odorless, colorless and extremely prevalent around the state of Colorado. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer, according to data compiled by both the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Special to the Daily)

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 Radon Action Month and is a time to test homes for radon because windows and doors are typically closed. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, approximately 40% of Eagle County homes have radon gas above the Environmental Protection Agency recommended “action limit.” The EPA’s website states that the normal level of radon found in outside air is around 0.4 pCi/L, 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 picking up a kit.

Radon is an invisible, odorless 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 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 thousands of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year.

“Education and advocacy for radon testing and mitigation may help prevent lung cancer,” according to Shaw Cancer Center. “It is critical for Eagle County residents to be aware of the risks of radon in homes, and these free radon test kits could make a difference in preventing lung cancer.”

The following steps are recommended for learning about radon levels in your home:

  1. Complete a short-term test, if results are 4.0 pCi/L or higher move to step 2.
  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.
  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 provide a list. Call 970-328-8777 or email energy@walkingmountains.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 Morgan Hill, environmental health manager for Eagle County Public Health.

“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,” added Walking Mountains’ Energy Programs Director Nikki Maline.

A home energy assessment is required for this rebate, which is a thorough energy audit of your home including checking combustion appliances for proper venting of gases and recommendations of energy saving measures.

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.

Free radon test kits available in January at:

  • Pharmacy inside Shaw Cancer Center, 322 Beard Creek Road in Edwards
  • 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

If someone is unable to pick up a test in person or has questions, contact Matt Parker at Walking Mountains by email at mattp@walkingmountains.org or call 970-328-8777. A test can directly be mailed to anyone through the postal service.

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