Radon Mitigation Denver - Radon Safety LLC


Radon Risk

This page is intended as a short tutorial on Radon in Colorado, its risks, and it’s relevancy to the Colorado Homeowner. For more thorough information on Radon, please reference the EPA’s Downloadable guides (google: EPA radon)

What Radon Is:

  • A cancer causing radioactive gas – the EPA lists Radon and it’s decay products as Group A Carcinogens – “known to cause cancer in humans.”
  • It is invisible, odorless and tasteless.
  • It is caused by the natural decay of uranium in the soil.

Where it is found:

  • All over the USA and all over Colorado, Indoors and Outdoors. You breathe a small amount of radon walking down the street. The problem arises when it builds up in buildings.
  • All kinds of buildings: houses, townhouses, schools, offices, apartments, and condos
  • All ages of homes: Brand new and 1880’s Victorians
  • All types of foundations: Slab on Grade with no Basement, concrete slab with basement, crawlspaces
  • Unless you live in a tree house or a houseboat, Radon is something you need to look out for.

Why is it so prevalent in Colorado?

  • As most Colorado residents know, we live in a mineral rich state. Uranium and other radioactive decay particles are spread throughout the soil. The minerals are spread throughout the state including the Denver area.
  • Most Coloradans are surprised to learn that we have had major Uranium mines right here in the Denver metro area. The Schwartzwalder Mine, 8 miles north of Golden operated from the early 1950’s until 1995. The Mann Mine near Morrison ran from 1955 to 1961. Together these produced millions and millions of pounds of uranium oxide. (Though Radon is a problem in many parts of the country without Uranium mines as well.)

How Radon Enters the Home:

  • Because heat rises, because of the design of modern buildings, and the nature of most heating and cooling systems, almost all homes have negative pressure inside.
    • They will draw in draft of outside air of you leave a window even a crack open.
    • They are almost always drawing in a small amount of soil gasses through tiny openings in the foundation (cracks, drains, sump pits, expansion seams, wall to floor joints, even solid concrete.)
    • Among these soil gases, some amount of radon is almost always present. The concrete slab or crawl space under your home traps air and concentrates gases that would normally dissipate into the atmosphere. It is this concentration, then entry of radon that can cause you problems.
    • It enters at the lowest point in the home and works it’s way upward by diffusion and sometimes through the heating or cooling system. Radon is almost always present upstairs (in slightly lower concentrations) if it is present in a basement.

How Much Radon in Your Home is Too Much?

  • The most typical measurement of Radon in the air is in Pico Curies per Liters usually represented as pCi/L
  • A PicoCurie is an amount of radiation and a liter is a volume of air.
  • The EPA recommends a homeowner mitigate at a level of 4.0 pCiL or higher, however you should check out the EPA’s risk chart to make your own personal assessments and decisions.
  • According to the Colorado Department of Health between 33% and 50% of homes in Colorado test above the 4.0 pCil threshold. (Some certified radon professionals estimate these numbers as high as 60% to 70%)

How To Test

Because we are a Radon Mitigation company, we feel it would be a conflict of interest to do any testing. So we contract all our testing to an independent lab. Home Improvement stores have self tests and we can recommend a Home Inspector if you’d like professional testing. Just call our office.

How Radon Damages Your Body:

  • As you inhale and exhale, radon gas enters and exits your lungs.
  • However, some molecules in the Radon have an electrostatic charge and stick to your lung tissues.
  • These Radon Decay Products give off radiation as they decay from one substance to another
  • As these get to Polonium 218 and Polonium 214, the EPA has determined they become most dangerous.
  • Most scientists believe that the beta and gamma radiation does little harm, but the alpha causes damage
    • Alpha particles are larger and make a damaging impact on lung tissue.
    • In most cases the tissue dies and can be regenerated.
    • The real problem is when these Alpha particles damage the cell’s DNA. It is these genetically damaged cells that behave erratically and lead to lung cancer

Is this a rumor or an actual scientific fact?

  • The Iowa Residential Radon Study completed in May of 2000 determined that even at the EPA Action Level of 4 pCi/L, an approximate 50 percent excess lung cancer risk was found among the women in the study after correcting for the impact of smoking.
  • A 2002 residential study conducted in northeast Spain yielded similar results. Even at concentrations far below official guideline levels, the Spanish study found that radon might lead to a 2.5-fold rise in the risk of lung cancer.
  • More is known about the health risk of radon exposure than almost any other human carcinogen.
  • Because it’s odorless and invisible and the lung cancer usually shows up over a long period of exposure, the danger of radon is often underestimated.
  • Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer in America and in fact, kills more people than colon, prostate and breast cancer combined.
  • Approximately 50% of the people diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked or are former smokers

Radon LevelIf 1,000 people who never smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime*This risk of cancer from radon exposure compares to**WHAT TO DO
20 pCi/LAbout 36 people could get lung cancer35 times the risk of drowningFor your home
10 pCi/LAbout 18 people could get lung cancer20 times the risk of dying in a home fireFix your home
8 pCi/LAbout 15 people could get lung cancer4 times the risk of dying in a fallFix your home
4 pCi/LAbout 7 people could get lung cancerThe risk of dying in a car crashFix your home
2 pCi/LAbout 4 people could get lung cancerThe risk of dying from poisonConsider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/LAbout 2 people could get lung cancer(Average indoor radon level)(Reducing radon levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L(Average indoor radon level)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be higher.
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deals from EPA Assesment of Risks from Radon in Home (EPA 405-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the centers for Dease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Inquiry Prevention and Control Reports.

Why Some Still Don’t Believe: (Just our guesses…)

  • A lot of people have an incentive to not believe. Fixing the problem costs time, effort and money. When you start out with a bias, you tend to find and more heavily weigh evidence that supports your preconceived notions & conclusions.
  • The CDC, EPA, National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization have nothing to gain or lose by identifying Radon as a carcinogen. It is a simple statistical fact.
  • People are good at rationalizing things: smoking, drinking and driving. . .people are just plain good at ignoring the things they want to ignore.
  • Terrorists strikes are dramatic. Violent crime is dramatic. They feature evil villains and they make for compelling stories. Radon is not dramatic. There is no villain. It kills without a spotlight or on-camera field correspondent.

A No-Risk, No Hassle, Free Way to Learn More

We offer a quick, easy 20 minute estimates to provide you with pricing and other valuable information. Just call our main office line at 303-462-5000 and say, “I saw you on the web and I’d like to get a proposal for a Radon Mitigation System” and we can set up a time that works for you. You’ll never get any sales-pitch whatsoever. We love to do these no-charge consultations, even if you’re not ready to move forward right now. Our goal is to make it as easy and painless as possible to look into this with no-strings attached. (We’re also happy to do phone consultations to give you the basics and answer any questions you have.)

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