JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Coloradans have just a few more days to take advantage of an opportunity to keep their homes safe. January is National Radon Action month and many agencies and some businesses offer free radon test kits.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) reports that about half the homes in the state have radon levels higher than than normal.
Radon is an odorless tasteless cancer causing gas that can seep into homes. Many agencies as well as a local business offer free test kits in January, during National Radon Action Month.
Jefferson County Public Health has 800 test kits to distribute to their residents. According to officials, more than 50% of homes tested in JeffCo have high levels of radon.
"Radon is invisible, it’s odorless, tasteless colorless so you don’t know that it’s in your home until you do test so step one is testing," Madison Pitts, a JeffCo supervisor of Environmental Health Services, said.
All Colorado Radon, a mitigation company is offering test kits for homeowners for free through the end of the month.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will also be giving test kits away on Friday at the Denver Animal Shelter from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Ryan Osborne, the general manager of All Colorado Radon, spoke to 9News about the dangers of radon.
What does All Colorado Radon do?
Osborne: We are in the business of mitigating radon. Radon comes from the soil in Colorado and can get into your home or property and if it gives above a certain level, you should mitigate your house. The only way to know where you’re at, is to do a test. The tests are really easy to do and once you know the process it isn’t very difficult. You just have to go into the home and build a radon system to mitigate the gas that’s going into the house and get that level to below 4 and you want to test that periodically to make sure it stays there.
When it gets above 4 and you’re living with it for prolonged exposure, you can get lung cancer from it. So it can be pretty detrimental to the house, or the family. Your pets can also be affected by radon so it’s really important to test.
Does Colorado have high levels of radon?
Osborne: It’s called a Zone 1 area for radon so we’re the highest concentration in this part of the country. A big reason is because of the Rocky Mountains, they have a lot of granite in them and that decays into radon so living in this area again it’s just testing is really important because you are in a Zone 1 location. About 50% of homes in Colorado are elevated with radon so again just doing a test is the best way to know where you’re at.
The more testing we do, the more we see it’s very prevalent in this area. Two years ago, the map looked a lot different than it does this year. The whole state is a Zone 1, where two years ago, because of the lack of testing there, was Zone 2 and 3 but now the whole state is a Zone 1.
Are tests affordable?
Osborne: Absolutely. Especially this month, there’s a lot of outlets you can find a free test kit. Our company is offering free test kits as well. You should spend maybe $15 to $20 at most hardware stores. You can find a test kit or online it would cost a little bit of money to ship it out in the mail but really it’s low cost. It’s usually under $20 to test and you usually get results back within a week or two.
Is this the best time of year to test?
Osborne: In the winter [when] your house is boarded up, you’re using a lot more heat, so your negative pressure really grows a lot in the house. So with that, it's going to bring your radon levels up. So testing now is going to show you really throughout the year you’re gonna be at your worst. Knowing where you’re at now and [when] you can take care of it this time of year, rest of the year you should be below where you need to be.
We deal with it everyday. We meet folks that have succumbed to lung cancer from radon. If you’re a smoker, your chances of getting lung cancer, living in a home with high elevated radon levels is just increasing your chances of getting lung cancer ten-fold so yeah it’s really important out here.
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