If you live in Colorado, you should be testing for radon gas intrusion. While there has been shown to be radon levels above safe levels in all 50 states, Colorado has the highest average number of radon tests in excess of federal guidelines of any state in the nation. It is due to the high mineral and element content of our soil and rocks and is the result of the natural process of uranium breaking down and deteriorating. As uranium decays, it gives off radon gas as a byproduct. Radon being a gas by nature works its way up through the soil and rock layers, and over time emerges into the ambient air column. Mixed with the rest of the outside air, the radon levels are minuscule and insignificant as potentially causing problems due to the breakdown and emitting of radioactivity from radon gas.
The problems begin to happen when humans build on top of soil and rock that has radon gas percolating upward through it. Since radon collectively is slightly heavier than most of the inert gases that make up air, it tends to pool or collect in quiet or dead air space. It also percolates faster and at a higher concentration when soil or rock is disturbed, pipes and footers allow air gaps for gas to easily escape through, and places are created where it can congregate relatively undisturbed, such as crawl spaces, basements, the air dam in the wall of your home, in spaces where flues, stacks, and chimneys travel to your roof, and in subflooring air gaps.
There are various levels for the presence of radon gas being considered nothing to worry about, or something worth considerable concern. Tests of homes in Colorado show that 39% of homes in the state are above acceptable levels of radon gas intrusion, or in other words, at a level that greatly increases the chances of contracting lung cancer due to the insidious intrusion of radon gas into your home. The State of Colorado estimates that if all homes in the state were tested that at last half would be above federal acceptable guidelines. It is worth note that if you have a smoker in the house, the problems are magnified as smoking combined with radon can increase your potential for contracting lung cancer by as much as 250 times normal odds.
Radon testing is inexpensive. While there are at-home kits, they require a strict protocol to make sure the test kits are exposed correctly, then you have to mail them off and wait for a test response. The tests also have to be repeated to affirm your results. A professional company is often overall less expensive and they can do something about mitigating the radon gas if your home tests were high.
If you live in Colorado and want to protect your family and make sure your home is safe if you decide to sell, test for radon. It is some of the best money you can invest in your and your family’s peace of mind and health.