Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Sustainability

Sustainability Tips: Radon and Why It's a Concern

Posted by Matt Parker on Jan 14, 2020 3:30:00 PM
Matt Parker

how_radon_enters (1)

January is federally recognized as National Radon Action Month. Though radon gas levels are a concern throughout the whole year, the cooler months are more of a concern, and is the best time to conduct radon testing, because your home is generally “closed up” from the outside.

 

What is radon?

You can’t see it; you can’t smell it; and, it is tasteless. But, it is everywhere. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified radon gas as a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. It is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium. As uranium decays in soil, rock, and water, it produces radon gas that moves up through the soil and into the atmosphere. It has been found in all 50 states and almost half the homes in Colorado have radon levels higher than the EPA’s recommended level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). In 2003, the EPA conducted a risk assessment and found radon causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. This means that it is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking-related lung cancer deaths.


Get these updates delivered to your inbox!

Why should this be alarming? Buildings act as containers for radon gas as it seeps up through the soil, holding it in allowing it to concentrate at dangerous levels. Common entry points include spaces between basement walls and the slab, cracks in foundations and/or walls, openings around sump pumps and drains, construction joints and plumbing penetrations, crawl spaces, and well water. Building age and type has no effect on radon concentrations. So, even new construction projects can contain high levels of radon gas, unless properly mitigated. 

 

How can you test your home?

There are two types of do-it-yourself testing, short-term and long-term. Short-term radon tests are placed in the home for 48 hours to 96 hours and then mailed to a laboratory that analyzes the test. Once you have mailed in your test, the testing facility can usually send your results within 3-5 business days.

Radon levels vary from season to season, even from day to day, short-term tests are usually used as a baseline method.  If your results are higher than the EPA’s recommended level of 4 pCi/L, it is suggested that you complete another short-term test or follow up with a long-term test. Long-term tests usually remain in the home for more than 90 days and produce results that better reflect the year-round concentration of radon gas in your home.

Regardless of which testing method you use, radon mitigation is highly suggested for results above 4 pCi/L.

 

You can pick up a free short-term test kit at the following locations during January, National Radon Action Month:

Eagle County Environmental Health Desk

500 Broadway St, Eagle, CO 81631

Vail Health’s Shaw Cancer Center Pharmacy

322 Beard Creek Rd, Edwards, CO 81632

Walking Mountains Science Center’s Front Desk

318 Walking Mountains Ln, Avon, CO 81620

El Jebel Community Center

20 Eagle County Dr, El Jebel, CO 81621

Building Mitigation

Here in Eagle County, Walking Mountains Science Center will rebate radon mitigation projects. Please contact Energy Smart Colorado at Walking Mountains Science Center by calling (970) 328-8777 to find out more. Additionally, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment offers radon mitigation assistance to income-eligible households. Please visit the department’s website for further information. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/categories/services-and-information/environment/radon

 

Sources:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/radon-and-your-health

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/understanding-radon

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-12/documents/2016_a_citizens_guide_to_radon.pdf

 

Matt Parker is the Energy Programs Associate at Walking Mountains Sustainability. For more information on Radon Test Kits, or the CARE program, contact Matt at mattp@walkingmountains.org

Topics: Energy Smart, Sustainability Tips, Radon

Walking Mountains Blog

Our Four Blogs 

Curious Nature - Learn about our wonderful environment
Students to Stewards - Walking Mountains News, Hike of the Week and Events
Climate Action Collaborative - Follow the Collaborative's efforts to reduce carbon emissions in Eagle County 25% by 2025 and 80% by 2050 
Sustainability - Stay up to date with sustainability practices and new initiatives

Subscribe Here!

Recent Posts