Monday, January 5, 2009

Gov. Ritter Urges Households to Test for Radon Gas

DENVER - Gov. Bill Ritter today proclaimed January to be Colorado Radon
Action Month and urged residents to test their homes for radon, a
radioactive gas responsible for approximately 1,400 Colorado cancer
deaths each year. The colorless, odorless, tasteless gas enters homes
through cracks in the floor or spaces around utility pipes and
accumulates unless properly vented. Long-term radon exposure is the
leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause
of lung cancer in smokers.

"January is an ideal month to test your home for radon, because
short-term tests require closed windows and doors," Gov. Ritter said.
"Testing is easy, and it's the only way to know for certain if your
health is at risk, and to make your home safe to prevent harm to you and
your loved ones."

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provides
coupons for reduced-cost radon test kits at The
Web site also lists contractors certified by the National Environmental
Health Association to install systems to remove, or mitigate, radon.

"The Environmental Protection Agency recommends installing a
mitigation system if your home tests above four picocuries per liter of
air," explained Chrystine Kelley, radon program coordinator in the
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Hazardous
Materials and Waste Management Division. "Qualified contractors can
seal cracks and install ventilation systems to prevent radon from
collecting in your home."

Certified contractors installed 8,597 new mitigation systems statewide
in 2007, an increase of 764 from 2006. Merely opening a window will not
remove radon from the home.

Radon results from the radioactive decay of uranium, which occurs
naturally in soil. Due to Colorado's geologic makeup, 52 of the
state's 64 counties are at high risk for radon. The gas moves
unpredictably through soil, so it's possible for radon to collect in
one home, but not in a home next door.

The complete text of the governor's proclamation can be read at Colorado residents also can call the
state's Radon Hotline at 1-800-846-3986 or check with their local
health department, county extension office or public health nurse for
radon information.