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San Juan Basin Public Health offers free radon testing workshops

The gas is second-leading cause of lung cancer, and detecting it is easy
Brian Devine, environmental health director for San Juan Basin Health, urges residents to conduct free, easy radon testing in their homes. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

San Juan Basin Public Health will offer a series of radon education workshops over the next three weeks in recognition of National Radon Action Month.

The colorless, odorless gas can flow up from the ground into homes and buildings via cracks in the foundation. It is radioactive and responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths annually nationwide. The gas is also the second-leading cause of lung cancer, and the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

The free workshops will be held on the following dates:

  • Jan. 25, 1-2 p.m., Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave.
  • Feb. 1, 6-7 p.m., Durango Public Library
  • Feb. 16, 6-7 p.m., via zoom (RSVP at t.ly/YgRo)

Attendees will learn how to test their home, find certified testing professionals and interpret and respond to test results. They will also receive free home testing kits.

Homes in La Plata and Archuleta counties are more likely to have unsafe levels of radon than other locations in the country as a result of the geological makeup of the region. According to a map published by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, every count in the state has “high potential” for an indoor average radon level that exceeds recommended limits. Public health officials have long-urged area residents to conduct the simple, cost-effective testing.

“Only a test of your home can tell you the radon risk in your home – not your neighbor’s results, and not results that are out of date,” said SJBPH Environmental Health Director Brian Devine in an email to The Durango Herald. “Radon testing is simple and easy to do, and mitigation where indicated by test results is highly effective at lowering the risk of lung cancer, especially for people who have never smoked. Financial assistance is also available for mitigation projects should that be necessary for low-income residents.”

All workshops will be led by qualified SJBPH staff members.

Additional workshops will be announced in coming days. To learn more or sign up for a workshop, call 335-2060 or visit sjbpublichealth.org/radon.

rschafir@durangoherald.com

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