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. Locally, radon test kits are available at Mineral County Cooperative Extension, 205 South A St., in Hawthorne.

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 and house fires.

In Nevada, one in four homes tested show radon concentrations at or above the EPA action level. In Mineral County, the potential is 40 percent. 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. 

Nevadans can also order free test kits online at https://2019freekit.eventbrite.com, or by submitting a radon test kit request online at http://bit.ly/NRAM19cpn, then mailing the confirmation email to the Radon Education Program’s administration office, 4955 Energy Way, Reno, NV 89502. Ordered test kits will require a $4 check or money order for shipping, written to Board of Regents.

For more information, call the Radon Hotline at 1-888-RADON10 (1-888-723-6610) or visit the Nevada Radon Education Program website at 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.