January is National Radon Action Month, and University of Nevada, Reno Extension’s Nevada Radon Education Program is offering free short-term radon test kits to Nevadans from now through Feb. 29, while supplies last. Radon test kits are available statewide at Extension offices and partner locations.
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It comes from the ground and can accumulate in homes and buildings, raising the risk of lung cancer. This risk is 100% preventable. 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.
“Lung cancer claims more lives each year than any other form of cancer, astonishingly impacting more women than breast cancer and posing a higher risk to Nevadans compared to the national average,” said Chris Kelly, Nevada Radon Education Program manager.
Kelly says testing for radon using the free kit is simple and takes just three days. Results will be ready in a few weeks. Homes with elevated levels can undergo mitigation measures to bring levels down to EPA-recommended safety levels. The EPA recommends using only certified radon professional, and a list of certified radon professionals in Nevada is maintained by the Nevada Radon Education Program.
Since the Nevada Radon Education Program began in 2007, more than 31,000 homes have been tested in the state. While Extension is currently offering free short-term radon test kits to Nevadans through Feb. 29, Kelly says the broader issue of radon testing during real estate transactions remains a crucial concern. The EPA recommends testing all homes for radon, emphasizing buyers’ rights to be informed about radon levels when purchasing a home.
In northern Nevada, 40% of homes undergo radon testing by a certified professional during a sale. In southern Nevada, Kelly says testing is only beginning, after Extension providing education to realtors about the importance of including radon testing during inspections. While Nevada ranks 12th in the nation for radon testing overall, Kelly says more testing is still needed.
“To protect all Nevadans, there is a clear need for increased education and testing efforts, especially in southern Nevada,” she said. “Current testing data reveals that one in four homes tested in Nevada has elevated radon levels. Addressing this issue comprehensively through enhanced education and testing initiatives is critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of homeowners across the state.”
For realtors seeking more information, free continuing education classes are available throughout the state. To schedule a class, contact Chris Kelly
For more information on radon, testing and mitigation, visit the Nevada Radon Education Program website. Extension, in collaboration with the EPA, strongly encourages all Nevadans to test their residences, schools, daycares, and all buildings for radon. The Nevada Radon Education Program is a program of University of Nevada, Reno Extension and is funded through Grant Number K1-98T37923 from the EPA.