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Homeowners Urged to Obtain a Free Radon Test Kit

National Radon Awareness Week kicks off Sunday and a local non-profit group is working to promote awareness about the radioactive gas which is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Officials with Citizens for Clean Air in Pueblo for Education, Research and Action said Thursday that the average radon level for homes they tested in a four-year program registered at 8.9 picocuries per liter. Radon gas is measured in picocuries, which represents the radioactivity associated with one gram of radium.

Kathy Howe-Kerr, with the nonprofit organization, said more than 70 percent of homes tested in Pueblo County during the Pueblo CAREs program had elevated levels at or above the Environmental Protection Agency's action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter.

"It's a big health issue and it's important because it's a long-term thing," said Larry Howe-Kerr, also with the organization.

Kathy Howe-Kerr said radon tests are simple and effective.

The nonprofit handed out 5,200 test kits over the four-year period and 2,300 of them were used.

"That is a high-return percentage of 45 percent. Other communities across the country envy this level of participation. A normal return is about 20 percent," Larry Howe-Kerr said.

As part of its program, the organization visited with more than 3,000 people in Pueblo County and surrounding counties in Southern Colorado to talk about what radon is, where it comes from and how to mitigate it.

It also worked with a local contractor and installed a radon passive system in a Habitat for Humanity home that was included in Pueblo's Parade of Homes.

"The systems are being adopted in local codes worldwide," Larry Howe-Kerr said.

He said he would like Pueblo County to adopt similar codes.

"We will be sharing our case with city and county leaders as we come to National Radon Awareness Week," Larry Howe-Kerr said.

Read more at: http://www.chieftain.com/health/homeowners-urged-to-obtain-a-free-radon-test-kit/article_c5607e16-14fc-11e2-bc10-001a4bcf887a.html