10 January 2013 (Fort Collins, CO)-- January is National Radon Action Month. While health risks associated with ongoing exposure to this gas are serious, we can do something about it. Fort Collins residents and businesses are encouraged to test for radon.
Testing for radon can be done easily using a do-it-yourself radon test kit or by hiring a professional. The City of Fort Collins offers radon test kits for households year round at discounted rates. Short-term kits cost $4 and long-term kits are available at $15 at the Fort Collins Senior Center (1200 Raintree Dr.) or the Fort Collins Development Review Center (281 North College Ave.). A listing of trained and certified radon professionals can also be found through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at coloradoradon.info.
According to the most recently calculated estimates, radon is a radioactive gas responsible for approximately 500 Colorado lung-cancer deaths each year. It’s a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that enters homes and other buildings through cracks in the floor or spaces around utility pipes. It accumulates unless properly vented, and long-term radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second-leading cause of lung cancer overall.
Measured in picoCuries (pCi) of radon per liter of air, radon results from the decay of uranium, which occurs naturally in soil. While radon can be found everywhere, 52 of Colorado’s 64 counties are at high risk for radon. The gas moves unpredictably through soil, so it’s possible for radon to collect in one home, but not the one next door. In Fort Collins, approximately 70% of homes tested have radon concentrations above 4 pCi/L. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that citizens fix their homes if the radon level is 4 pCi/L or higher.
Radon mitigation systems can be installed in instances where high levels of radon are found. To ensure that the system is working properly, be sure to test your home again after the system has been installed. If you learn that your home needs a mitigation system, remember that the City offers Air Quality Loans to Fort Collins residents.
For more information on radon and Air Quality Loans, please visit fcgov.com/airquality