Radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year, 2,900 of which were people who have never smoked. In fact, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Unfortunately, radon is also quite common in Colorado homes due to the state’s higher-than-average uranium content.
The good news? It’s quite possible to reduce radon content to safe levels and keep a house safe for years to come. You just have to be prepared. Here’s what homeowners and home buyers need to know about radon in Colorado.
What is Radon?
Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts. It results from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. Outdoors, radon disperses quickly and does not pose a health issue.
But when radon becomes trapped indoors, where the air doesn’t move freely, it doesn’t disperse so easily. Because of this, most radon exposure occurs indoors in homes, workplaces, or even schools. And when you’re consistently exposed to concentrated radon, it can cause lung cancer.
In fact, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Radon in Colorado
High radon levels have been found in all 50 states in the U.S.–and in all areas of Colorado.
The EPA’s current action level for radon is 4 pCi/L (picocurries per liter) or more. However, because there is no known safe level of radon exposure, the EPA recommends taking action at radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L just to be safe (the national average is 1.3 pCi/L, well above the average outdoor concentration of .4 pCi/L or 1/10th of EPA’s 4 pCi/L action level).
Unfortunately, Colorado is a state with a major radon problem–about half of all homes in Colorado have radon levels above the EPA’s action level. Here’s a look at Colorado’s radon zone maps to get an idea of radon levels in your area.
How to Stay Safe
Because radon is odorless and colorless, the only way to know you’ve been exposed to radon is by testing. Similarly, the only what to know if a home contains unsafe radon levels is through testing.
If you’re purchasing a home in Colorado, a radon test should be part of your purchasing process. You can purchase your own test kit, or you can hire a measurement and mitigation professional to help you.
To be clear, high radon levels do not necessarily mean a home is unliveable. Radon reduction techniques are highly effective and can reduce radon levels by as much as 99%, and you can do it for about the same cost as normal home repairs. Initially, you should have a contractor help you, then have them install a system so that you can maintain safe radon levels with minimal effort.
Prepare to Buy (or Sell) Your Home
Are you preparing to buy or sell your home in Colorado? Don’t let radon slow you down. With a bit of preparation, you can proactively manage radon levels and turn a house into the home it was meant to be.
Our job is to help homeowners and buyers move with peace of mind. So if you’re ready to discover your new home, get in touch today to find out how we can help.