Mesa County urges radon tests for residents
Radon is present everywhere, but concentrations that build up in homes can be harmful for residents.
As people close doors and windows tight to keep out frigid temperatures, this month is a good time to test for the gas that is tasteless, odorless and invisible.
In recognition of National Radon Month, the Mesa County Health Department, 510 29 1/2 Road, is selling $5 kits to residents to test for radon. The price includes shipping and analysis of a home’s radon levels.
Radon is decaying uranium released into the air. It most commonly is found in the highest concentrations in basements and in floors above a basement.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon occurs naturally, and radon in homes is the main source of exposure and responsible for about 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. According to the World Health Organization, radon causes 15 percent of the lung cancer deaths around the globe.
Residents can use the tests provided by the county and send in the equipment as marked on the kit’s packaging.
Homes with radon levels of more than 4 picocuries per liter are recommended by the EPA for radon-mitigation equipment. That can include a series of vents that circulate radon gas from the soil underneath your home to the air outside.
Ted Munkres, owner of Foundation Repair of Western Colorado, said he got into radon mitigation in connection with bolstering foundations because the two aims go hand-in-hand. Radon sucks the moisture out of the soil, and soil that is too dry or too wet can damage foundations.
A radon-mitigation system also rids a home’s air of other harmful toxins, such as weed killers and pesticides that may be added to the soil. As residents run heating systems in the winter, the process acts as a vacuum, pulling the air up from below.
“Radon is alive and well in Grand Junction, and we thought it went away with uranium mill tailings,” Munkres said. “You can have all the mill tailings removed from your home and still have radon.”
To obtain a test kit, visit the Health Department. For questions, visit the Health Department at http://www.health.mesacounty.us or call Anna Maylett Rice of the indoor-air-quality division at 683-6647.