Radon test kits available

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Radon can build high levels inside your home, and long term exposure to these high levels of radon is a risk for lung cancer. Forty-nine percent of homes in La Plata County have required mitigation of the colorless, odorless gas produced by decaying uranium in rocks and soil.

It is the second leading cause of lung cancer and causes over 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. "You can not see or smell radon".

Alpha radon particles are the result of long-term decay from shale and granite in our soils that makes their way into our homes.

Radon testing isn't expensive and can be done either by a professional or by purchasing your own kit.

Test kits can be ordered through the CDPH Indoor Radon Program webpage or by calling the program toll-free at 1-800-745-7236.

Though radon can get into any type of building, including homes, offices, and schools, you and your family are likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time.

There are areas in our community that have significantly high radon levels, and many homes have not been tested. Residents are asked to follow the instructions when conducting the radon test and to submit results to the Connecticut Department of Public Health Laboratory. "This means the EPA predicts that homes within our area could have high radon levels".

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The recommended level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. Perform a radon test after installing a new heating system or central air conditioning.

Place the kit for a few days, away from ventilation and use the winter months to test your home.

For more information on radon testing, visit www.coloradoradon.info, where you can find a list of contractors certified by the National Radon Proficiency Program to install radon mitigation systems.

Governor John Hickenlooper has declared January Radon Action Month in Colorado.

The good news is test kits are pretty cheap at $10. If levels are elevated, the mitigation system is adjusted and the resident should test again to be sure levels are below 4.0 pCi/L. Mitigation is simply redirection of air flow.

The Extension Office has partnered with San Juan Basin Public Health to present several community meetings to discuss radon.