Looking for a new home? Consider health and safety

Jeffco Public Health wants people to test homes for radon and other factors that can impact health

Posted 7/9/19

Ashley Sever and her husband recently married and set their eyes on purchasing their first home together. The two looked to make Lakewood their home, and they accomplished that, but it didn’t come …

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Looking for a new home? Consider health and safety

Jeffco Public Health wants people to test homes for radon and other factors that can impact health

Posted

Ashley Sever and her husband recently married and set their eyes on purchasing their first home together. The two looked to make Lakewood their home, and they accomplished that, but it didn’t come without having to overcome a few obstacles.

Sever learned that her newly purchased house had a high amount of radon — a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in water, rock and soil. The couple installed a radon regulation system in their home, but they encountered another problem — their property’s wiring was a fire hazard.

“The main thing we decided was that it is more important to focus on health and safety things before we got into the cosmetic upgrades,” said Sever.

Jeffco County Public Health (JCPH) wants to make sure that residents consider health and safety when moving into a new home. The health department is encouraging people to test homes for radon, clean and treat for pests, test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, get a first aid kit and to take other steps in ensuring the health and safety of a new home.

“If you think about the average 24-hour day, most people spend at least half of the day at home,” said James Rada in a statement. He is the environmental health services director for JCPH. “There is a strong connection between our health and where we live, and there are some important things people can do to make sure their house or apartment — and their neighborhood — is as safe as possible.”

Around 50 percent of homes in Colorado have high levels of radon, according to JCPH. Radon can cause health issues like cancer, and it’s invisible and doesn’t have a smell. Lead in paint products used on homes and buildings is also another health factor. Homes and buildings built before 1978 may contain lead and lead poisoning can be detrimental to health, particularly for children.

“Rightfully so, it has its health risks that are very much real, but lead is really a danger if it’s ingested,” said Andrew Sams, a professional home inspector and founder of Alpine Building Performance, a home inspection business. He said lead can reach a child through a paint chip.

Sams said most health risks with homes he inspects revolve around air quality, but there are other factors he looks for like if a deck is properly connected to a house.

“We want to get a good, well-rounded idea of the condition of a property. There are plenty of things that we report on that are not health and safety related, but might have big ticket implications as far as repair cost,” said Sams.

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