Twelve Colorado counties previously considered to be at moderate risk for radon exposure have been upgraded to the high-risk category. The change means all 64 Colorado counties are categorized as Zone 1 for radon, or high-risk, by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Counties in Zone 1 have an estimated indoor radon average greater than four picocuries per liter (pCi/L), the action level where the department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommend homeowners install mitigation equipment.
The 12 affected counties are: Alamosa, Archuleta, Conejos, Costilla, Eagle, Hinsdale, La Plata, Mineral, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache and San Juan. Although the designation does not mean every home in these counties has radon above the action level, state officials strongly encourage Colorado residents to test their homes and to consider installing mitigation systems if radon levels exceed four pCi/L.
“We’ve always known radon was a problem in Colorado,” said Chrystine Kelley, manager of the radon program at the department. “This new data confirms a need for heightened awareness, more testing and a more proactive mindset, such as building new homes with radon-resistant construction.”
Radon, a colorless, odorless radioactive gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon occurs naturally from the decay of uranium in soil and is abundant in Colorado. The only way to know if your household is being exposed to radon is to test. Test kits are inexpensive, and the tests are easy to perform. For additional information, visit coloradoradon.info.
Editor’s Note: For a local perspective on the 12 counties, see contact information below.
· Alamosa County Public Health Department: 719-589-6639
· Archuleta County (San Juan Basin Health Department): 970-247-9126
· Conejos County Public Health and Nursing Service: 719-274-4307
· Costilla County Public Health Agency: 719-672-3456
· Eagle County Public Health Agency: 970-328-8755
· Hinsdale County Public Health Agency: 970-944-0321
· La Plata County (San Juan Basin Health Department): 970-247-9126
· Mineral County Public Health Agency: 719-658-2416
· Rio Grande County Public Health Agency: 719-657-3352
· Routt County Environmental Health Department: 970-870-5588
· Saguache County Public Health Agency: 719-655-2533
· San Juan County Public Health Service: 970-387-0242