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Private: News
6th Aug


Most people know about radon

The Pueblo Chieftain
By Loretta Sword
August 6, 2011


A recent state health department survey showed that 73 percent of respondents know what radon is but only 34 percent have had their homes tested for the deadly gas.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommends that all homes in Colorado be tested.

Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second-leading cause of lung cancer overall. Radon is formed by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. Although harmless when it disperses into the air, radon is dangerous when it collects in homes.

“It’s encouraging that so many people are aware of radon, because most Colorado counties are at high risk for it,” said Chrystine Kelley, radon program manager in the hazardous materials and waste management division at the state health department. “The best way to protect your family is to test your home, and we recommend that every Colorado home be tested.”

State data shows that approximately 50 percent of Colorado homes have radon levels above the recommended action limit of 4 picocuries per liter of air (PCi/L). The good news, Kelley says, is a properly installed mitigation system can greatly reduce indoor radon concentrations.

This is the first year questions about radon awareness were added to the annual Colorado Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a series of telephone surveys monitoring how health factors such as smoking, excess weight, sedentary lifestyles and the nonuse of seat belts contribute to injury, illness and death.

The survey also found the following:

  • Respondents ages 18-29 were least likely to know what radon is, and the 30- to 49-year-old age group was less likely to know what radon is compared with people over 50.
  • Approximately 64 percent of black respondents and 58 percent of Hispanic respondents did not know what radon is, compared with slightly less than 20 percent of white respondents.
  • In general, radon knowledge increased with education level and income.
  • Respondents ages 18-29 were the least likely to have had their homes tested for radon, and black and Hispanic respondents were less likely to have tested their homes than white respondents.
  • Seventy-five percent of respondents whose homes tested above 4 PCi/L have installed mitigation systems.

“The only way to know if radon is present in your home is to test for it, and the only way to get rid of it is to install a mitigation system,” Kelley said.

The Study of Radon Awareness and Behavior in Colorado, additional radon information and discount coupons for short- and long-term radon test kits are available at

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