January is National Radon Action Month, and University of Nevada, Reno Extension’s Radon Education Program is offering free short-term radon test kits to Nevadans in January and February, so that homeowners can identify whether their homes have high levels of the cancer-causing gas and can take steps to mitigate risks. Radon test kits are available at Extension offices and partnering locations, as well as at free presentations, statewide.
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It comes from the ground and can accumulate in homes, raising the risk of lung cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates 21,000 Americans die each year from radon-caused lung cancer, killing more people than secondhand smoke, drunk driving and house fires.
In Nevada, one in four homes tested show radon concentrations at or above the EPA action level. According to experts, living in a home with radon concentrations at the action level poses a risk of developing lung cancer similar to the risk posed by smoking about half a pack of cigarettes a day.
The risk of radon-caused lung cancer can be reduced. A simple three-day test can determine if a house has a radon problem, and winter is an ideal time to test a home for radon. If radon problems are found, they can be fixed. It is recommended to test homes every two years for radon risk.
Extension encourages those who have not tested within the past two years to pick up a free test kit this month. Some Extension and partner offices have regular hours, while other locations have more variable hours. It is recommended to call to check office hours before going to pick up a test kit. In addition, there are currently two free presentations scheduled on the radon risk, where free kits will be available:
- In Reno, Jan. 25, 5:30 p.m., at the Northwest Reno Library, 2325 Robb Drive
- In Minden, Feb. 8, 5:30 p.m., at the Genoa Town Hall, 2287 Main St.
For more information, visit the Nevada Radon Education Program website, or call the Radon Hotline, 775-336-0252.
Extension and the EPA urge all Nevadans to test their homes for radon. The Nevada Radon Education Program is a program of University of Nevada, Reno Extension and is funded by Grant Number K1-98T37923 from the EPA. Since the program began in 2007, about 33,900 homes have been tested in Nevada.