Routt County categorized as high risk for radon exposure


— Routt County recently was added to the list of Colorado counties at high risk for radon exposure.

With 11 other counties also added, all of Colorado now is categorized as high risk, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., according to a news release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Radon occurs naturally in the ambient air around us and comes from the decay of uranium in soil.

“It’s only when we concentrate it in our living spaces that it becomes hazardous,” Routt County Environmental Health Director Mike Zopf said, adding that the risk of lung cancer from radon only becomes significant after long-term exposure.

Zopf encouraged people to test their homes and said it would be easier to complete passive radon tests, which require all windows to be closed for a number of days, before warm weather makes it less comfortable.

The Routt County Extension Office offers passive radon tests for $5. The office is located in the Routt County Courthouse annex in downtown Steamboat.

Radon is measured in picocuries per liter, and a level of 4 pCi/L is the threshold above which some mitigation should be done.

Zopf said that if a test returns a level between 4 and 20 pCi/L inside a home, a second test should be done to confirm the structure needs radon mitigation. Above 20 pCi/L, mitigation should be done right away, he said.

Higher radon levels might need more involved mitigation that can be done by a certified radon contractor, but homeowners also can do some mitigation themselves.

Cracks in the foundation and penetrations through the floor by piping and wiring should be sealed. Exposed earth in crawlspaces under houses should be covered.

“The average homeowner is certainly capable of doing a lot of techniques,” Zopf said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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Cresean Sterne 3 years ago

Please contact me if interested in a short radon test. This is a 3 day test and cost is $150 Cresean Sterne 970.846.6651


Robyn Higginbotham 3 years ago

Tests can also be picked up at a hardware store and sent off to an independent lab for analysis. Knowing this upfront when your home is for sale will prepare you to inform your buyer's so they don't become concerned about what other "unknowns" there are about the home. Many mitigation companies guarantee success of their work for a flat rate! Beware of those who do not!


Cresean Sterne 3 years ago

I coudnt agree with you more Robyn. This gives the seller a chance to perform a long term test at a much less cost providing a more accurate reading. Short term tests are a base average usually performed by a home inspector for the buyer of a home. Both tests need to be done in a closed house environment (all HVAC to home should be turned off, all windows closed, no fans on and unit should be placed in an undisturbed area at the lowest habital spot in home). A long term test is a must if home will be somewhat distubed. Beware of any company that performs radon testing along with mitigation. It is a conflict of interest and could cost you uneccessary $.$$$ If mitigation is needed, the average cost is usualy anywhere from $800~$2000


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