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Nevada radon program promotes testing in January, and year-round

01 January, 2024

The City of Sparks this month issued a proclamation declaring January Radon Action Month, bringing attention to an often-silent issue that is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is naturally occurring in the ground as a result of radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water. It’s harmless when outdoors, but when it gets trapped indoors – by seeping in through microscopic cracks in foundations and basements – it can build up and become deadly.

It’s easy to test for radon with home test kits available through University of Nevada Extension offices throughout the state or for purchase online. Test kits cost around $11 each and are free from Extension offices in January and February each year.

Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter of air, or pCi/L, and indoor levels should not exceed 4 pCi/L. In Nevada, radon levels vary, but many counties have large areas that have moderate to high risk of elevated radon levels.

Chris Kelly, program manager for Nevada’s Radon Education Program said everyone should test their home for radon, and other public buildings should be tested as well. She said recent test results show the real threat of radon in Nevada.

Chris Kelly, Nevada Radon Education Program
Chris Kelly, Nevada Radon Education Program

“I receive radon test results on a quarterly basis, and [this month] shockingly I got test results that I had to double-check with the lab to make sure they were accurate,” Kelly said. “The results indicated that numerous homes in Spanish Springs had scores in the 150s.”

Multiple other homes in northern Nevada have recently received results showing radon levels at 20-30 pCi/L. These levels can contribute to future cases of lung cancer. Fortunately, mitigation solutions are available and can be installed in homes to vent the radon gas away from the home.

Kelly advocates not only for testing and mitigation, but also for policies to require radon mitigation systems in all new homes.   

“When we’re talking about building more homes … I hope that somebody would take up the policy that all new homes be built with radon mitigation systems in them,” she said. “Most states require that. In Nevada we do not have any regulation.”

To learn more about radon levels in Nevada, explore the Radon Education Program's potential radon maps, and learn more about testing for radon on their website.

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