The recent surveys show that most homes in Colorado counties may have radon levels that go beyond the recommended action level of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). People who are exposed to radon over a long-time risk developing serious health conditions such as lung cancer. Although radon problems can be caused by several factors, the best way to know whether you are exposed is to test your home for elevated levels of radon. This article discusses why Colorado has a radon problem in residential homes and what you can do to keep your family safe from radon exposure.
Soil Type and Moisture – Main Reason for Radon in Colorado
Whether you have lived in Colorado for a long time or you just moved in recently, you need to understand a couple of things about this state. It is classified as a highly mineralized state because uranium is naturally found throughout Colorado. Although the largest mineral deposits are in western Colorado, there are scattered amounts of uranium throughout the state. Uranium is a radioactive metal that releases radon gas into the air as it decays. The Uravan mineral belt has seen constant mining of uranium since the late nineteenth century.
The major reason why several mines in Colorado are focused on the Uravan mineral belt is that it also contains another metal that increases the strength of steel, known as vanadium. However, the Colorado mines shifted to extracting both uranium as well when it became useful after World War 2.
Its Implications On Residential Homes In Colorado
Whether uranium is mined or not, its deposits are in the soil of Colorado, counties can slowly release radon gas after the decay process of the radioactive material. It may not be of serious concern when it happens outside because the gas will slowly dissipate and spread out over a large area resulting in low radon levels of about 1.3 pCi/L. This can only be true if you are not near a uranium tailings site or an actual mining site. Since uranium deposits are scattered all over the soil in Colorado, radon gas can rise from the ground into residential homes through the water supply, and cracks in the foundation.
Once radon has found its way into your home, it can easily dissipate and cause a major problem to the occupants. Because it is heavy than other gasses in the air, it accumulates in the lowest area of the home such as the basement. Although there is no amount of radon that is considered safe, the EPA recommends taking action when radon exceeds 4 pCi/L. It is said that the radon levels in most residential homes in Colorado exceed the EPA recommended action level. Since radon is an odorless gas that cannot be seen until it has done serious damage, the best way to ensure your home is free from a radon problem is to have it officially tested.
What Can You Do About Radon If You Live In Colorado?
The first thing you can do is to get a radon test kit. With a simple test kit, all you need to do is to place the sampling device in the lowest livable space of your home. It detects the presence of radon by reacting to it or changing color as indicated in the instructions. After the test sample has been sent to a third-party lab, it will be tested further to determine the amount of radon present based on the collected air sample.
If your test results are at 4.0 pCi/L or more, EPA recommends taking action by calling radon professionals to install a radon mitigation system in your house. Getting any results below this level does not mean that you are safe since there is no ‘safe’ amount of radon. The best thing you can do is to hire radon mitigation professionals to keep the readings as lowest as possibly achievable to minimize exposure. Not only does this improve your indoor air quality but also helps keep you and your family safe from the effects of radon. The system includes a radon fan and piping that mitigates the gas coming from the soil underneath.
If the installation of a mitigation system is not done correctly, it could cause more damage than good. Once you have tested your home for radon and got test results that exceed or are slightly close to the EPA’s recommended action level, it is important to involve professional expertise when installing the mitigation system. They not only have experience in how to deal with radon but can also advise on the most effective radon mitigation systems based on your home’s layout and design.