January is National Radon Action Month, let’s look at the facts surrounding this naturally occurring gas, its effects on human health and how to decrease exposure in Fort Collins, CO.
A radioactive gas that’s produced by the decay of uranium in the soil, rocks and water, radon is found in all 50 states. It has no color, smell or taste. It seeps from the ground to the air above and into a home, school or office building through gaps between foundation walls and floor and around service pipes.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon is responsible for approximately 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. yearly – 1,400 of those in Colorado. This radioactive gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. And indoor residential exposure to radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers.
Many Colorado homes have radon levels that exceed the EPA recommended action level of 4 picoCuries (pCi) of radon per liter of air. In Fort Collins homes, test results reveal that approximately 70 percent of homes have radon levels that exceed 4pCi/L. The EPA encourages citizens to fix their Fort Collins homes, if radon exceeds this level.
Fortunately, there’s a smart and simple thing you can do to protect your family – test for radon. You can easily test your Fort Collins home yourself with a radon test kit or hire a professional tester/home inspector to do it for you.
Discounted radon test kits are available from the city of Fort Collins year-round. A short-term kit for $3.50 or a long-term kit for $13.95 can be purchased at the Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Drive, or the Fort Collins Development Review Center, 281 N. College Ave in Fort Collins.
If your test results reveal high levels of radon, don’t panic. Radon mitigation systems can be installed to reduce gas levels and ensure your family is protected. Once installed, test your home again to ensure the problem has been addressed.