About the program
Extension's Radon Education Program is funded through an EPA grant to educate Nevadans about the health risk posed by elevated levels of radon in the home. The program offers literature, maps, educational presentations and low-cost radon test kits.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has no odor, color or taste, and comes from the soil. Radon gas moves through the soil into the air, where it harmlessly spreads in outdoor air or enters buildings through the foundation and becomes trapped inside. When it enters a building and gets trapped inside, high levels can cause lung cancer.
Radon is a carcinogen, a substance known to cause cancer in humans. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. More than 21,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year. Not everyone exposed to radon will get lung cancer, but the greater the radon level and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer. Mining studies show extended periods of exposure to low levels of radon over a long period of time caused lung cancer.
All homes, offices, schools and preschools should be tested for radon.
For more information, read A Citizen's Guide to Radon (an EPA publication)
Only testing shows a home's radon level
Since you can't see, smell or taste radon, testing is the only way to find out if you have a radon problem. A neighbor’s test result or results-based maps cannot determine the level in any home. Homeowners can measure radon levels in their homes themselves using inexpensive and easy-to-use test kits.
Buying a home? Know the radon level
The EPA recommends knowing the radon level of any home you are considering buying. Many states require radon testing for real estate transactions. For more information, visit radon information for the real estate professional.
Many informed buyers and relocation companies have homes tested for radon before a home purchase, similar to inspecting a home for termites and building defects. If high radon levels are found, the buyer and seller should discuss the timing and cost of radon reduction. Current mitigation technology successfully reduces radon concentrations inside homes, lowering the health risk of lung cancer caused by radon. Informed sellers test their homes prior to listing, and if elevated radon levels are found, the seller should take steps to reduce the radon levels before placing the house on the market.
When testing for a real estate transaction, it is recommended that a qualified (certified) tester be used. A certified, professional radon tester may charge $300 for the test, but results are available shortly after 48 hours. A certified tester knows the testing protocols, such as where to do the test, how to test and how long to test. A certified tester is a third party not involved in the sale or purchase of the home.
A cancer survivor who had exposure to radon
Heidi Nafman-Onda was diagnosed at the age of 55 with lung cancer. She was a healthy, active, non-smoker with zero respiratory symptoms before she was diagnosed. Heidi and her husband Pierre tested their home for radon and found high levels, a little above 8 .
“It’s surprising that we have requirements for safety devices like smoke detectors, seat belts and carbon monoxide detectors but people don’t regularly test for radon,” Heidi said. “In addition to screening for other environmental hazards in your home, every home should test for radon.”
Learn more about Heidi's cancer story at The White Ribbon Project.
Our intent in sharing Heidi's White Ribbon Project story is to underscore the importance of testing your home for radon. No discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.
This program page was supported through Grant Number K1-15629 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.