Officials: Radon health risks still a concern across Nevada | SierraSun.com

Officials: Radon health risks still a concern across Nevada

Special to the Bonanza

Nearly 25 percent of homes tested in Nevada found radon concentrations at or above the EPA action level. Results are based on independently tested homes from 1989 to June 30, 2015, not scientific sampling.

January is National Radon Action Month, and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Radon Education Program is offering free radon test kits and educational presentations at various locations across the state.

Free test kits are available at Cooperative Extension offices and partner offices statewide through Feb 28, and will also be available at the presentations.

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 (EPA) estimates 21,000 Americans die each year from radon-caused lung cancer, killing more people than secondhand smoke, drunk driving, falls in the home, drowning or 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 as much risk of developing lung cancer as 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

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In Northern Nevada, there are several presentations scheduled in the coming weeks throughout several communities, including two in the Tahoe area:

Jan. 23: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 128 Market St., Stateline, at 6 p.m.

Feb. 1: Incline Village GID Public Works, 1220 Sweetwater Road, Incline Village, at 6 p.m.

For those who cannot attend a presentation, free radon test kits are available through Feb. 28. For information, call the Radon Hotline at 888-RADON10 (888-723-6610) or visit the Nevada Radon Education Program website at http://www.RadonNV.com.

Cooperative Extension, the EPA and the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health urge all Nevadans to test their homes for radon.

The Nevada Radon Education Program is a program of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and is funded by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. Since the program began in 2007, more than 23,000 homes have been tested in Nevada.

This article was provided by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, a unit of the University of Nevada, Reno that is engaged in Nevada communities, presenting research-based knowledge to address critical community needs. Visit http://www.unce.unr.edu to learn more.