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8 percent of homes tested in Clark County showed high radon levels

Posted 6/30/2009

Free test kits still available

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) and the Nevada State Health Division urge all Nevadans to get their homes tested for radon. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 21,000 people in the U.S. die each year from lung cancer caused by indoor radon exposure.

Radon comes from the natural radioactive decay of uranium and is found in soil, rocks and water. The major source of radon is the soil beneath a home. Radon enters through foundation cracks, plumbing and utility openings and some of the porous materials used to construct foundations and floors. An estimated one out of every four homes in Nevada has radon levels at or above the EPA Action Level of 4 picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/l).

"You can’t predict which homes will have high radon levels," Susan Roberts, Nevada radon program director, said. "Two neighboring homes can have very different radon levels. The only way to know a building’s radon level is to test." The short-term test involves setting out a device for two days and then mailing it in for test results. If the short-term test reveals elevated radon levels, it’s suggested that the homeowner do another test to confirm the results. The type of test depends upon the initial result. Visit your local Cooperative Extension office for your FREE short-term test kit.

For higher levels, Roberts recommends the second test be a year long test using a long-term test kit. Long-term radon test kits are available for $15 from the radon program.

If the year long test confirms elevated radon levels, homeowners are urged to have the problem addressed by a certified radon professional. A list of certified radon mitigators is available on the UNCE web site, www.unce.unr.edu/radon , or at Cooperative Extension offices across the state.

In Nevada, 4,990 usable radon tests since 2003 have revealed elevated radon levels in 26 percent of the homes tested statewide. The radon potential for Clark County is eight percent, with 39 of 497 valid tests being above the EPA action level of 4 pCi/l. "“As more homes are tested, we will see a more definitive radon potential in the state," Roberts said.

For more information, go to the Nevada Radon Education Program web site at www.unce.unr.edu/radon , call your local Cooperative Extension office at 702-257-5550 or stop by 8050 Paradise Road, LV 89123. For additional information on radon, contact the Nevada State Health Division, 775-687-7531 or 775-687-7536.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is an outreach arm of the University that extends unbiased, research-based knowledge from the University-and other land-grant universities-to local communities. Educational programs are developed based on local needs, sometimes in partnership with other agencies and volunteers. For more information about University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, please visit the website at www.unce.unr.edu .

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