January is National Radon Action Month, and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Radon Education Program is offering free short-term radon test kits to Nevadans from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28. Radon test kits are available at Cooperative Extension offices and partnering locations, as well as at presentations statewide.

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 estimates 21,000 Americans die each year from radon-caused lung cancer, killing more people than secondhand smoke, drunk driving, house fires and unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning combined.

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 a risk of developing lung cancer similar to the risk posed by 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.

Free test kits are available at the Mineral County Cooperative Extension, 205 S. A St., Hawthorne.

For more information, call the Radon Hotline at 888-RADON10 (888-723-6610) or visit the Nevada Radon Education Program website at www.RadonNV.com.