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Douglas county hotspot for radon

Nearly a sixth of Douglas County’s homes have been tested for radon, which is the highest participation in the state.

“There are still a lot more houses that need testing,” said Susan Howe of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. “It’s the only way to find out if you have radon.”

There’s a good reason why participation in Douglas County is so high, Howe said. The number of homes testing positive for the odorless, tasteless, invisible gas averages 40 percent.

At places like Stateline it’s up to 70 percent.

Free radon tests will be available at a presentation scheduled for 6 p.m. today at the CVIC Hall in Minden.

Tests are also available at the Gardnerville office of the Cooperative Extension, or at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District at Stateline.

Instructions are included with the test kits.

Radon is produced by the breakdown of uranium in naturally occurring granite. Without a means to vent it out of crawl spaces, it can collect in closed spaces during the winter.

According to experts, living in a home with an average 4 picocuries has the same risk as developing lung cancer as smoking a half pack of cigarettes a day, Howe said.

Howe said that about a fifth of the homeowners with high radon levels have had their homes fixed.

“There are a lot more people being made aware of this,” she said.

She suggested anyone purchasing a home ask for a radon test.

January was proclaimed Radon Action Month by Douglas County commissioners.