JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– January is National Radon Action Month, and Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is encouraging residents to protect themselves and loved ones from dangerous radon gas by testing their homes. To help, JCPH is offering free radon test kits all month long, while supplies last, one per address and on a first come-first served basis, at the JCPH location in Lakewood at 645 Parfet Street.
According to Jefferson County Health Officials, Radon is a dangerous and naturally-occurring radioactive gas that you cannot smell, taste or see. People are exposed to radon primarily from breathing radon in air that enters homes and other buildings through cracks and gaps in foundations.
“If you breathe in the radon gas at a higher concentration your likelihood of coming into contact with that decaying partial, at that time releasing that energy, it damages your lung tissues. That’s where the lung cancer occurs,” said Mitch Brown, Environmental Health Supervisor at JCPH.
Radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and a top environmental cause of cancer nationwide. In Jefferson County, more than half of homes tested have high levels of radon. While there is always some radon in the air, high levels of exposure to radon over time can lead to a significant risk of developing lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer is even greater for smokers who are exposed to radon.
“Any home can have high levels of radon, whether it’s new or old, large or small – that’s why it’s so important to test,” said Brown “Once you test, there are steps you can take to make your home healthier and safer, and that’s really our end goal. We want to reduce the negative effects radon has on the Jeffco community.”
Homeowners do not need to test for radon annually if their homes have recently tested below the maximum threshold (4 picocuries per liter). If your home has recently tested below this, plan on testing every 2-3 years. If your home has tested above this threshold, more comprehensive testing may be needed to gauge the severity of the problem. There is no safe level of radon, so even if your home tests below 4 picocuries per liter, you may still want to consider mitigation.
In addition to providing the free test kits, JCPH staff will be available to help homeowners understand how to use the test kits properly and what to do if the test results show high levels of radon in the air. If action is needed to reduce radon in a home, it’s important to test homes for radon again to be sure the action worked and the air is safe. Resources may be available for those whose homes test positive for high levels of radon and who qualify through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Testing your home, and installing proper air quality controls if high levels of radon exist, is an effective way to prevent the harmful effects radon can have on you and your family. After January and throughout the remainder of 2020, radon test kits will be available for purchase at JCPH for $10 each.
If you have questions about radon and your home’s risk, please visit www.jeffco.us/2337/Radon to see frequently asked questions and helpful information.
Other agencies offering free Radon test kits are Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, Tri-County Health Department and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.