Jefferson County encourages residents to get free radon test kits

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Update: A spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment tells FOX31 that "they’ve probably run out" of the free tests and that "they went super-fast."

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- Radon is a silent killer that may be seeping into your home, but there's no way to know it unless you take active steps to test for it.

As a part of Radon Action Month, Jefferson County Public Health is encouraging residents to gauge the amount of the deadly gas that you could be breathing, and they're doing that by giving away radon gas test kits for free. In fact, anyone in Colorado can get a free kit through the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. 

We are told kits are available at the Jefferson County Health Department. Kits must be picked up at that location and can not be ordered online.

It appears there are no free radon test kits available via the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Its website has this message when you click the link for a free kit: “At this time all free radon test kits have been claimed and no more are available."

Colorless, odorless and tasteless, radon is a radioactive gas that rises from the soil and creeps in through cracks of homes with potentially deadly results; inhaling it can lead to lung cancer and kills roughly 21,000 people a year.

Nick Hanstein with Colorado Radon Pros says that a statewide spike in the levels makes Coloradans even more exposed to the danger.

"Radon comes from the breakdown in uranium in the ground -- just the geological structure of where Colorado is causes those radon levels to be high here," he said.

That has resulted in roughly 500 people across Colorado dying each year from lung cancer caused by radon exposure.

Old or new, all buildings should be monitored. To help Jeffco homeowners combat the effects of radon, county residents have an easy opportunity to have their homes tested. All it takes is a trip to the public health clinic to pick up a test kit.

The department has about 1,000 kits but will be given away on a first come, first served basis.  After January, kits will be available for $10.

If your test comes back with dangerous levels of radon, the next step is to call in the professionals.

"You need to do an evaluation of the house. Depending on the type of home it is -- if it's an unfinished basement, that can be simple -- making sure all the cracks are sealed in the concrete. There are several tests that we do to ensure that the radon system we install is going to work," said Hanstein.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends testing your home every two years.

To make sure you're hiring a credible contractor, check with the National Radon Proficiency Program to make sure the company is certified.

The Jefferson County Public Health Clinic is located at 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the kits are only available for free to Jefferson County residents. However, any Coloradan can order a free kit online.

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