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Radon risk at homes and schools

Dangerous gas
Posted at 7:18 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 21:18:07-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Radon gas is a health risk, especially in Southern Colorado. It seeps up from underground and into buildings. Testing for the gas is recommended, but not required.

"What's interesting. We have fire drills and those are regularly scheduled and mandated by the state, but something like radon not mandated by the state once you've been open for eleven months,” said Academy School District 20, Communication Director, Allison Cortez, District leaders opted to test schools earlier this year after getting an information request about radon testing records from News 5 Investigates. The request made school leaders aware of a potential risk not regularly evaluated. "We are of the belief system, that if we think something is wrong, we're not going to wait until that mandate. We're going to test and make sure it's right and keep our kids safe." They did find one school with a small area of elevated radon. The issue was mitigated and is gone.

“Radon is a naturally occurring gas that's through deteriorating uranium or rotting granite," Brandon Atha, the owner of Advance Radon Systems says it can make its way into your home in well water, by way of cracks, even through your foundation. It can cause respiratory illnesses and a higher risk of lung cancer.

A gas level above four is considered too high. "Your neighbor could be at a one, you could be at a 20, your other neighbor could be at a two," said Atha. Just because other buildings near-by are clear does indicate a pattern. A building testing with safe levels can have dangerous levels show up years later. Since it is not required, Atha says it is worth checking your home every couple years and asking your school or school district the last time there was radon testing.