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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. In Fallon, the Cooperative Extension office is at 111 Sheckler Road and is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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 mitigation professionals, 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.