- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - A radon-mitigation system could be required for every new home when new La Plata County building codes are approved as part of an effort to protect people from a colorless, odorless gas released by decaying uranium in rocks that can cause cancer.

The gas is common in La Plata County, but there is no way to test for it before a house is built. The county may require parts of radon-ventilation systems be included in every home as part an updated building code, said Butch Knowlton, director of the building department.

“It’s easier to mitigate with new home construction than it is to go back in an existing home and try to retrofit,” Knowlton said.

Radon requirements for buildings already have been adopted by many Colorado towns and counties, said Wendy Rice, a consumer science agent for the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.

The gas gets trapped under homes, and spreads to the living space. The building code could require small pipes to be built into the home to vent out the gases and the system completed if the home tests positive for the gas, the Durango Herald reported (http://tinyurl.com/nddbu6u).

Retrofitting a house with this kind of system can cost $1,800 to $2,500 depending on the size of the house, she said.

The county is still in the preliminary stages of considering the requirement, said Jon Tuthill, a member of the board of appeals that reviews building-code changes.

He said the county is trying to keep the radon requirements as reasonable as possible because some homeowners won’t need it.

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Information from: Durango Herald, http://www.durangoherald.com

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