Nevada Radon Education Program
The Nevada Radon Education Program is a partnership with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health to educate Nevadans about the health risk posed by elevated levels of radon in the home. The Extension program offers literature, educational presentations, and low-cost radon test kits in many county Extension and partner offices.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has no odor, color, or taste and is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Uranium is found in all soils and in higher concentrations in granite, shale and phosphates. As it decays into radon gas, the radon moves through the soil into the atmosphere, where it is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air or can enter buildings through the foundation and become trapped inside. When it enters a building, it can accumulate and present a health risk for occupants. Buildings other than homes can also have radon concerns (such as commercial buildings, schools, apartments, etc.).
Radon is classified as a Group A carcinogen, a substance known to cause cancer in humans. Next to smoking, scientists believe that radon is associated with more lung cancer deaths than any other carcinogen. More than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year, making it the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. 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.
All homes should be tested for radon, and many more need to be tested.
For more information, please read: A Citizen's Guide to Radon (an EPA publication)
Testing determines 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 concentrations in their homes themselves using inexpensive and easy-to-use test kits.
Know the indoor radon level in the home you consider buying
Listing or buying? Get educated and test and understand mitigation solutions if testing calls for it. For more information about radon in real estate transactions, visit Radon information for the real estate professional.
While Nevada currently has no laws that address radon, the Environmental Law Institute’s Database of State Indoor Air Quality Laws lists at least 40 states that do. In Nevada, the Residential Disclosure Guide, Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Form, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Administration forms all include radon gas as an environmental and health hazard. 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 elevated 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 $100 to $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. For a list of approved, certified radon testing professionals, click on the link below. For more information about radon in real estate transactions, visit Radon information for the real estate professional.
A cancer survivors story 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 PiCu/L.
“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,” says Heidi. “In addition to screening for other environmental hazards in your home, every home should test for radon.”
Read more about The White Ribbon Project and cancer awareness.
This program page was supported by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health through Grant Number K1-96963520-0 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the official views of the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health nor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.