Area residents are invited to learn more about radon and receive a free radon test kit during presentations offered by the Clark County Cooperative Extension in December.
Most people associate lung cancer with smoking, but the leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers is radon. Although smokers have a higher risk of radon-induced lung cancer than nonsmokers, about 21,000 people die each year in the U.S. of lung cancer caused by indoor radon exposure. The radon health risk is highly preventable, yet few people know about the radon risk or have their homes tested for it.
Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium in soil and enters homes through foundation cracks, openings and some of the porous materials used to construct foundations and floors of homes. It is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas that can reach harmful levels when trapped indoors. Radon can enter any home, old or new. The only way to know what the radon levels are inside your home is to measure them.
"Winter is the ideal time to test your home for radon as most of us keep our homes closed up during cold weather," said Laura Au-Yeung, the Southern Area Radon Program coordinator.
Radon awareness seminars are scheduled for:
Dec. 8, noon, West Las Vegas Library, 951 Lake Mead Blvd.;
Dec. 15, 11 a.m., Whitney Library, 5175 E. Tropicana Ave.;
Dec. 17, 2 p.m., Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road,.
For your first test, it is best to use the short-term test kit, which remains in your home from two to four days. It contains activated charcoal that absorbs radon and provides extremely accurate results. If you do find high levels of radon in your home, the EPA recommends a follow-up test, as radon levels fluctuate naturally. Depending upon the result of the screening test, a long-term test may be recommended.
If you do have elevated levels of radon in your home, most problems can be fixed for a cost similar to that of many common home repairs. It is best to have the problems addressed by a qualified professional.