Silent Killer Affecting Half Of Colorado Homes: What To Know
In a recent press release, the American Lung Association (ALA) warned that there is a cancer-causing gas that has found its way into nearly half of Colorado homes.
The gas in question is called radon, and high levels of it have been detected in 46.1% of homes in the state of Colorado. With January being National Radon Action Month, now is a better time than ever to talk about the risks along with how to get your house tested.
What is Radon and How Can it Get Into My House?
According to the ALA, radon is a radioactive gas that comes through the ground. You will not be able to detect it on your own, since it is odorless, tasteless, and completely transparent.
It forms completely naturally, starting as uranium in soil that breaks down into radium. Radon in particular is the gas that is released from radium.
If it is underneath a house, cracks in walls, foundations, and basements. While you are surely to come across it while outside, the open air allows it to disperse safely. Trapped inside homes, the levels can become dangerous.
What Type of Cancer is Associated With Radon and What Are the Risks?
While some may scoff at the idea of this natural gas affecting them in any way, the effects of longtime exposure to it are dire.
It is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year and can cause the disease in people who have never smoked a day in their lives.
This means nearly half of the state is in danger of being exposed to high amounts, and this is not just limited to homes. Schools, offices, and truly any building could have dangerous amounts of radon within them.
It is also entirely possible that your home will be affected while your neighbors won’t. All that matters is if there is radium-producing radon underneath your home in particular.
How Do I Test My Home and What Do I Do If My Home Has Dangerous Radon Levels?
Fortunately, radon testing can be easy and affordable. ALA is currently working with Protect Environmental to offer people no-cost radon testing for their own homes.
Tests try to look at the amount of picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of radon in the home. If you have 4 or more pCi/L in your home, it is considered a dangerous amount. However, the ALA recommends that levels between 2 and 4 pCi/L are still a high amount and should be treated accordingly.
If the test comes back that you have 4 or more pCi/L of radon in your home, the next step would be getting a mitigation system installed. It requires a vent pipe and fan and essentially dumps the excess radon outside of your home.
On the other hand, sealing any cracks in your basement or foundation is also highly recommended, since that is how radon can seep through in the first place.
If you are building a completely new home, it is good practice to install a radon mitigation system as a safety precaution.
Finally, the ALA notes that you can get state assistance for getting radon mitigation systems in your home. You can get either financial assistance or low-interest loans just to get the system in place.
With all of this being said, if you have not already tested your home for radon, you must do so. Radon has been proven to be extremely deadly, and with so many Colorado homes being at risk, we as a state must start to mitigate the issue as much as possible.
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