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Learn about the radon health risk in Carson City

Posted 1/21/2009

CARSON CITY — University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Radon Education Program is conducting a free public meeting from 5-6 p.m. Jan. 27 at Carson City Senior Center, 901 Beverly Dr., Carson City.

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless and tasteless gas that is dispersed in outdoor air but can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon causes more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers.

Radon is created from natural deposits of uranium and radium in the soil. As of September 2008, 88 homes in Carson City had been tested, and 26 of them — about 30 percent — were over the EPA action level for radon. This compares to 22 percent of the homes tested statewide that were in excess of this action level.

But UNCE Educator JoAnne Skelly said people often don’t take radon seriously because they can’t see or smell it.

"People tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer in their homes," Skelly said.

Skelly urged Carson City residents to take steps in January — National Radon Action Month — by testing their homes for radon. Simple and free radon test kits can be obtained at the public meeting on Jan. 27.

"Test kits purchased at local hardware and home improvement stores can cost $20 or more, but our program is offering free test kits as a service to Nevada residents," Skelly said. "Radon is a serious health risk but can easily be prevented."

For more information on radon, radon testing and mitigation, and building new homes with radon-resistant features, call UNCE’s Carson City office at 775-887-2252 or visit UNCE’s Radon Education Program Web site or visit EPA’s National Radon Action Month Web site.

The event is sponsored by UNCE’s Radon Education Program, which is working with the Nevada State Health Division and the EPA in a nationwide campaign to educate Americans about the dangers of radon exposure and to encourage them to take action to protect their homes and families.

UNCE encourages people with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, contact UNCE’s Teri Spraggins at 775-887-2252 in advance of your participation or visit.

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