Childcare Facilities Now Required to Test for Radon

Ask your childcare provider for a copy of their radon test results. If they haven't tested yet, encourage them to do so sooner than later to reduce the risk of future lung cancers.

In addition to educating, exercising, and taking great care of our precious children while we're at work or out running errands, the childcare facilities in Colorado are now required, by law, to test for radon.  These provisions, which went into effect on January 14, 2016, were designed to give childcare providers and parents a clearer picture of the health and safety implications of radon gas exposures and to encourage childcare providers to voluntarily take prudent steps to reduce radon concentrations in these facilities.  This rule will serve to further raise awareness of the risks of radon gas exposure in Colorado and should help to reduce future lung cancer risk among some of the most vulnerable populations, our children.

The Colorado Board of Health updated the regulations governing Health and Sanitation of Childcare Facilities to include a provision requiring radon testing at all childcare facilities by May 1, 2017.  Here is an excerpt of the portion of the new rules involving radon testing:

6 CCR 1010-7, Section 7.14.2, Part H.

By May 1, 2017, radon testing shall be conducted in existing facilities as required by this section pursuant to Department guidance and the procedures described in the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) Protocol for Conducting Radon and Radon Decay Product Measurements In Schools and Large Buildings, 2014, hereby incorporated by reference.

1. New child care facilities opening after the effective date of these rules and regulations shall complete radon tests within six months of occupancy. Child care facilities remodeled after the effective date of these rules and regulations shall notify the Department of such remodeling in order that the Department may assess the need for any additional radon testing.

2. The results of these tests shall be on file at each facility and available for review.

3. This section shall not apply to non building based programs such as mobile school age child care programs.

Testing Process

Manus Mitigation, Inc. PBC uses professional radon testing equipment to provide immediate results at the conclusion of each test period.  This instrumentation is calibrated annually, the measurement process is checked via ongoing performance testing at independent analytical laboratories, and continuously validated  by a rigorous quality assurance program.  These steps ensure measurement precision and accuracy to give you confidence in the test results.

Testing Equipment Comparison – Professional vs. Amateur

Pros – Resolution on diurnal fluctuation and climatic conditions, true integrators. Immediate results. Good for real-estate transactions where seller might tamper with closed house conditions.
Cons – Expensive tests, lower sensitivity to radon emissions, more error-prone as a result. New technology. Short-term testing only.

Pros – High sensitivity, Precision and accuracy are better, inexpensive, true integrators. Long or short-term measurement capability. Immediate results. Good for real-estate transactions. Proven technology.
Cons – No resolution on diurnal fluctuations or climatic conditions.

Charcoal Canisters:
Pros – Inexpensive. Easy to deploy.

Alpha Track:

Syracuse Street Sub-Membrane Depressurization (SMD) Mitigation System


Syracuse Street Mitigation
11.6 pCi/L initially, 1.1 pCi/L after – 91% reduction for ~$1,400
Scope of work: Seal over 1,000 SF of earthen crawlspace with vapor barrier and install sub-membrane system in older rental property. Helped property owner identify plumbing leaks and created access for repairs and new clean storage space in low-clearance crawlspace.


Radon Mitigation: Costs and Benefits Calculus

512px-Benjamin-Franklin-U.S.-$100-billOne of the wisest of our nation’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, was alive long before the discovery of radioactivity by Marie Curie in 1899 and radon by Freidrich Dorn in 1900. In spite of this, he did have something to say about the value of radon mitigation systems. He once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The Colorado Cancer Plan Sets Ambitious Targets for Radon Awareness

Cancer Plan Cover


After smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. The geological makeup of Colorado puts all 64 counties at high risk for radon exposure.

“It’s very important for people to test their home,” states Chrystine Kelley, Radon Program Manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

A CDPHE study found that 72 percent of Coloradans were aware of the dangers of radon, but only 42 percent have tested their homes. State radon testing data show that about half of Colorado homes have radon levels above the recommended action limit of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air.

There is no known safe level of radon and testing is the only way to know whether it is in your home at a dangerous level. Merely opening a window will not remove radon from the home; a mitigation system should be installed. If you have radon in your home and you smoke, your risk for lung cancer is significantly higher than it is from either being exposed to radon or smoking alone.

Seventeen cities and nine counties require new homes be built with radon-resistant features. “Even these homes,” says Patricia Dooley-Strappelli of Boulder County Public Health, “should be tested every few years to make sure the system is working properly.”
Colorado residents can call the state’s 24-hour Radon Hotline at 1-800-846-3986 for more information.

Goal 4 in the Colorado Radon Plan is "Decreased Environmental Exposures that lead to Cancer" and Objective 4.1 is to "Increase knowledge and community infrastructure to decrease exposure to radon."

1. Educate the Colorado public, home owners, building owners, sellers, Realtors and policymakers about radon and its risk for lung cancer.
2. Educate builders, code officials, city councils and county commissioners on radon facts, health effects and implementation of radon-resistant features in new construction.
3. Promote environmental equity through radon testing and mitigation programs and outreach efforts directed at minority or indigent populations.
4. Engage and educate Realtors, homebuyers and sellers on the importance of radon testing and information disclosure during real estate transactions.