6University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is offering free radon test kits to Nevada residents from Dec. 1 through Feb. 28. Residents are encouraged to take advantage of this free offer to test their homes for this radioactive, colorless gas that comes from the ground, accumulates in homes and can cause lung cancer. In Hawthorne, test kits are available at the Mineral County Cooperative Extension, 205 South A St., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 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.

Radon-caused lung cancer is 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.

In Nevada, one in four Nevada homes tested found 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 half a pack of cigarettes a day. If radon problems are found, they can be fixed.

January is also National Radon Action Month, and to help communities comprehend the dangers of radon, the Nevada Radon Education Program offers radon presentations to schools, civic and community groups, homeowner associations, realtors, builders and the general public. To schedule a presentation, contact Jamie Roice-Gomes, education coordinator, at 775-336-0252 or roicej@unce.unr.edu.

Cooperative Extension, the EPA and the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health urge all Nevadans to get their homes tested for radon. For more information, visit the Nevada Radon Education Program website at www.RadonNV.com, or call the Radon Hotline at 888-RADON10 (888-723-6610).

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. The program has been working to raise awareness of the dangers of radon in the home since 2007. Since 2008, the program has distributed radon test kits and more than 18,000 homes have been tested in Nevada.