Air Quality has become one of the most important environmental concerns today. With a rapidly growing population, Durango and the whole region are facing increasing concerns related to air quality.  Please see Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Air Pollution Control Division for additional statewide AQ information.

Other than prescribed agricultural burns, open burning is prohibited without first obtaining a permit from the CDPHE Air Quality Control Division.  Click here for an Open Burning Permit Application.

The States of New Mexico and Colorado convened the Four Corners Air Quality Task Force to work on the air quality issues and challenges facing the Four Corners region. Join the Task Force in working to improve the air quality in the Four Corners region by staying informed or sign up if you want to get involved.

Wildfire information

Wildfires in the region may compromise local air quality and certain health precautions are advised.

For an updated Colorado air-quality summary and information on wildfire smoke health advisories, please visit: www.colorado.gov/airquality/colorado_summary.aspx.  For Colorado smoke outlook, please visit: http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_advisory.aspx.

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality includes mold, asbestos, asthma triggers, carbon monoxide and Radon gas.

Radon

Quick Facts…

  • Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that can enter the home.
  • Most of Colorado contains high concentrations of radon, considered the second highest cause of lung cancer.
  • All Colorado homes should be tested for radon.
  • Radon reduction methods can be planned for and installed during new home construction.
  • Home buyers and renters should ask if the home has been tested for radon and for the results.
What is Radon?

Radon is emitted from uranium, a naturally occurring mineral in rocks and soil. Normally, radon rises up through the soil and dissipates in the air outside. Radon becomes a concern, however, when it seeps through openings such as cracks, loose fitting pipes, sump pits, dirt floors, slab joints or block walls and accumulates in the home. See Figure 1.

Air pressure inside the home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around the house’s foundation. Because of this difference, the house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings.

Every home should be tested for Radon.

Click here for more information on Radon testing and Radon Resistant New Construction.

Click here for La Plata County residential Radon levels measured 2005-2008.

Figure 1. Radon entry locations.

Radon has been identified as a risk factor in developing lung cancer because it decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in the lungs. These particles release bursts of energy that damages lung tissue. It is estimated that radon may be associated with about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States, second only to smoking.

For more information on Radon in your home, check out:  CDPHE’s Radon Webpage or Colorado State University Extension Office’s Radon Fact Sheet.

Mold

The best way to control mold is to control moisture. Visual inspections and odors are good indicators of whether you have mold growth in an area. Typically, in minor situations, mold presents a concern only for those with compromised immune systems, asthma, or mold allergies. However, moisture and mold growth should be controlled. If you suspect you have a mold problem or have experienced water damage/flooding, contact Doug Rice at the CSU Cooperative Extension office: (970) 491-6503.
Quick abatement of water and moisture sources is key to preventing mold.