What is radon?
Radon gas is a naturally-occurring product that results when uranium decays, and this odorless and colorless gas can seep up into homes and other buildings through cracks in the foundation. Buildings then trap the gas, allowing it to build up to toxic levels. Long-term exposure to radon gas can cause lung cancer; indeed, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer across the United States, and as many as 20,000 deaths are attributable to radon-caused lung cancer each year. Other studies have indicated that exposure to radon gas may also increase the risk of other cancers including childhood leukemia.
Why is Colorado’s risk so high?
As a natural byproduct of the radioactive decaying process of uranium, radon gas is present wherever uranium naturally occurs in the soil. Different soils have different concentrations of uranium, but the mineral makeup of Colorado’s soil is particularly uranium-dense. According to a spokesperson from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado is a “highly mineralized state” with ample granite deposits, and the particular geological composition of areas across the state includes large amounts of naturally-occurring uranium. These natural mineral formations provide the perfect breeding ground for radon gas. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency has set a safety guideline for radon gas concentration at 4.0 pCi/L, and 95 percent of all counties in Colorado exceed this level.
The occurrence of radon gas is so high in almost every county across the state that nearly half of all Colorado homes are projected to have elevated levels of radon. The risk of these high radon levels holds true for all types of homes across the state, whether new or old and whether well-sealed or well-ventilated. As the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that approximately one in 15 houses across the country has an elevated radon level, it is easy to see that the radon risk that Coloradans face is much higher than that of the average American.
What steps should Colorado residents take to protect themselves and their families from this threat?
Because the risk of radon gas exposure is so high across the state, all Colorado residents should be aware of how to detect the presence of toxic levels of radon. Test kits are widely available across the state, and testing is generally straightforward. Most common short-term radon test kits simply require that all windows and doors remain closed during testing. Alternatively, professional testing is available to help you ensure the most accurate results.
If you find out that your home does contain an elevated level of radon, installing a mitigation system is necessary to prevent the harmful effects of this toxic gas. At RDSEnvironmental, we are
AARST/NRPP certified for both radon testing and radon mitigation system installation. Learn more about your options for testing and mitigating your home’s radon gas levels by contacting us today.