Denver's Radon Problem- Get Tested Today!
Radon testing in Colorado is essential for any homeowner, or anyone who is interested in purchasing a home in the Denver area. HouseMaster technicians are trained by the National Radon Proficiency Program and use equipment that is calibrated annually to ensure accurate testing during home inspections. Of the 74 counties in Colorado, 62 have an estimated average radon level above the EPA’s recommended maximum of 4.0 pCi/L. Denver County is one of these, meaning Denver residents should be especially wary of radon and its effects. Because levels of radon in Denver are estimated to be high, Coloradoans in the greater Denver area should monitor radon levels in their living spaces.
What is Radon and Why is Radon in Denver?
Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot detect with your senses. It has no color, no smell, and no taste. Radon is a byproduct of radioactive solids like uranium. Ever thought about why Rocky Flats Arsenal was located here? As uranium decays, which happens constantly, it turns into other elements and eventually turns into lead. Along the way to lead, one of the elements uranium turns into is radon. What is interesting about radon is that, unlike all other elements in the decay chain of uranium, radon is a gas.
Because it is a gas, Radon seeps up from the uranium-rich rock beneath Denver and enters our living spaces via the ground. For this reason, radon is often found in basements or other low-lying areas in a home: it is the entry point for this ground-sourced gas. And this flow does not stop when it reaches your basement.
It is just most often concentrated in the basement because the basement is closer to the source. Radon gas can even seep into the groundwater that we drink.
When it comes to radon, Denver and other Colorado counties are highly susceptible. This is due to the uranium content of the Rocky Mountains, as well as due to the mining activity that distributed radioactive solids in tailings piles and made it easier for radon to escape from the ground.
You might be thinking that a radioactive gas sounds dangerous, and it is. Radon has been linked to lung cancer among non-smokers and especially among smokers (EPA), and a recent study has linked it to blood cancer, although more research is needed. That said, radon is not a swift actor. It is probably not going to give you lung cancer after just a year of contact; it will take many years. So, if you do have elevated levels of radon in your home you can still act to protect yourself and your family.
A local news affiliate ran a profile on the risk of radon in Denver County. They point out that Colorado has one of the highest concentrations of radon in the United States. The article also highlights the fact that many homeowners are not thinking about radon in Denver area. A Denver man reports not thinking about radon until he tested his new home and found radon levels were 2.5 times the recommended maximum at 10 pCi/L. To protect his children, who play in the basement during Denver’s cold winter, he installed a radon mitigation system while it was still summer. This system successfully reduced radon levels in his home to just 0.9 pCi/L. So, while radon in Denver area is a problem, it is not unfixable. Hence, the first step to reducing radon levels is to test for radon. Colorado
Understanding Radon Risk in Colorado
Radon can affect anyone in any state in the US, and Colorado is no exception. In fact, it’s been estimated that about half of all homes in Colorado have radon levels that are higher than the EPA-recommended level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L).
How Radon Affects Your Health: Lung Cancer Risk
Unlike some other common home risks, such as carbon monoxide, radon does not present with any obvious symptoms when you are exposed. Instead, the radioactive gas affects the lining of your lungs when you breathe it in. As radon is breathed in and it decays, it can cause damage to your lungs, resulting in a higher risk of lung cancer.
The EPA estimates that radon causes 21,000 deaths per year due to lung cancer, making it the second leading cause of the disease, behind only smoking. Because radon does not have any other symptoms, those who are exposed may not even realize it until they begin to develop symptoms of lung cancer.
The Importance of Radon Testing
The biggest benefit of radon testing is that you get peace of mind, knowing that your family is protected from the potentially carcinogenic effects of radon gas. Even if you do find that your home has elevated radon levels, it’s relatively easy to mitigate radon exposure by working with an experienced contractor to install barriers and other devices that help prevent radon from entering your home.
You should have your home in Colorado tested for radon at least twice. In different seasons, as variations in temperature can change radon levels, and retest your home every few years. In addition, it is a good idea to have your home retested after any major renovations or changes in the envelope, which could affect the spread of radon. You can test your home yourself with a test kit, or work with a home inspector to test for radon.
Protect Your Family Against Radon – Get Tested Today!
Radon is extremely dangerous and harmful, and impossible to recognize without proper testing. To protect yourself and your family, you should always make sure that you test your home regularly, and have an inspection performed on any house that you are interested in buying, to determine its radon risk.
HouseMaster Home Inspections Denver North is full service residential and light commercial Inspection Company servicing Denver, Lakewood, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Westminster, Gateway, Aurora, and Commerce City we can help.
HouseMaster Home Inspections Denver North's technicians are trained by the National Radon Proficiency Program and use equipment that is calibrated annually to ensure accurate testing. Call us today to schedule your radon test with or without your home inspection. Call us today to schedule your test.
ABC News Denver. “Radon Risk Easily Overlooked” http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/radon-risk-easily-overlooked
County Radon. “Denver County Radon Information”. http://county-radon.info/CO/Denver.html
Radon.com. “What is a safe and acceptable level of radon gas?” http://www.radon.com/radon/radon_levels.html
United States Environmental Protection Agency. “Health Risk of Radon”. https://www.epa.gov/radon/health-risk-radon