It's like smoking two to 10 cigarettes a day

Homes should be tested for radon

January is National Radon Action Month, and here in Northwest Colorado, the CSU Cooperative Extension Office has been encouraging and assisting residents with radon testing since 2001.

Yet there are still thousands of residences that have not been tested. If you've been putting it off, make 2007 the year you finally test your home for radon.

Colorado is an EPA Zone 1 radon state, which means that more than 50 percent of the homes have elevated radon levels above 4.0 pCi/l. It is estimated that a home containing 4.0 pCi/l of radon creates a similar risk for developing lung cancer as smoking two cigarettes per day.

From past Northwest Colorado testing data, it is not at all unusual for homes in our area to have radon levels between 10- 20 pCi/l, or the equivalent cancer risk of smoking five to 10 cigarettes each day.

Radon enters homes as a decay product from the uranium that is present in the soil and rock beneath our homes. Once a home's radon level is measured, if it exceeds the recommended level, simple systems for removing the radon from underneath the home before it has a chance to enter its interior can be installed.

This can cost between $500-$2,500. Testing is easy and inexpensive, and all Colorado residents who have yet to test their home for radon are encouraged to do so, and then to reduce elevated radon levels if found, in order to protect their families from the health risk associated with radon.

Short and long-term radon test kits are available at the CSU Moffat County Extension Office, 539 Barclay St. Free EPA resources are also available to those that would like additional information concerning radon or other residential indoor air contaminants. Contact Elisa at 824-9180.

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