January is National Radon Action Month and the Nevada Radon Education Program of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) will offer several radon education programs at various locations in January. Radon test kits will be offered free at the presentations, as well as throughout the month at Cooperative Extension locations around the state.
Scheduled program presentations are:
- · Thursday, Jan. 3 – Washoe County UNCE office, 4955 Energy Way, Reno, at 6 p.m.
- · Thursday, Jan. 10 – Incline Village Library, 845 Alder Ave., Incline Village, at 6:30 p.m.
- · Saturday, Jan. 26 – North Valleys Library, 1075 N. Hills Blvd. #340, Reno, at 12:00 p.m.
- · Wednesday, Jan. 30 – South Valleys Library, 15650A Wedge Pkwy., Reno, at 6 p.m.
The Jan. 3 program will feature an awards ceremony for area winners of the 2013 Nevada Radon Poster Contest Reno. The ceremony will take place at the end of the radon education program. A representative from the Office of Governor Brian Sandoval, Pierron Tackes, will attend and present certificates from Gov. Sandoval to the contest winners. She will also present the Governor’s proclamation declaring January as National Radon Action Month.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is present in rocks and soil. It can accumulate in buildings and can cause lung cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 21,000 Americans die each year from radon-induced lung cancer, killing more people than secondhand smoke, drunk driving, falls in the home, drowning or fires in the home. The EPA recommends citizens make reparations to homes if radon levels reach 4 picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/l) or higher. According to experts, living in a home with an average radon level of 4 pCi/l poses a similar risk of developing lung cancer to smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day.
In Washoe County, elevated radon levels have been found in 21 percent of the homes tested, as 984 out of 4,753 valid test results were at or above the EPA Action Level of 4 pCi/l.
Radon can enter any home – old or new, well-sealed or drafty. Even homes with slab on grade, crawl spaces, basements or invisible foundation cracks are susceptible. Variables that determine radon levels include how the home was constructed, lifestyle factors and the strength of the radon source near or beneath the house. The only way to know a building’s radon level is to test. If high levels of radon are found, there is a way to reduce or mitigate radon levels.
Radon-induced lung cancer is highly preventable. 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. When a home is closed up during cooler weather months, radon concentrations typically increase.
One can’t predict which homes will have high radon levels, as two neighboring homes can have vastly different radon levels. Therefore UNCE, EPA and the Nevada State Health Division urge all Nevadans to get their homes tested for radon. Free radon test kits during the months of January and February are available at the Washoe County UNCE office, 4955 Energy Way, in Reno, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the Nevada Radon Education Program website, www.RadonNV.com, or call the Radon Hotline, 888-RADON10 (888-723-6610).