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Kings County households offered free radon test kits to assess lung cancer risk

The California Department of Public Health will offer Kings County residents free radon testing kits in an effort to prevent lung cancer.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that develops naturally. After cigarette smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Participants will place the test in their home for a few days, then send it back for analysis. The test does not interfere with normal household activities.

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Radon Regulation Varies Widely from State to State

Californians are required to disclose the radon level in their home, if known, before transferring it to a new owner.

Nevadans are not.

In both states, renters are particularly vulnerable.

“There are no regulations to protect renters from radon in Nevada,” said Susan Howe, radon education program director for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. “There are no regulations dealing with radon in Nevada, period. There are no laws to protect people when they buy or build homes.”

More people die each year from radon exposure than from drunk driving accidents, falls in the home, drownings and home fires, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The known carcinogen — undetectable by sight, smell or taste — is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and the second-leading cause of lung cancer for smokers. Radon exposure causes an estimated 21,000 deaths per year in the United States.

Radon poses risk at Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.—Elevated levels of radon pose a significant health risk to California residents around Lake Tahoe, according to a report released by the California Geological Survey.
An estimated 23,400 people live in homes were radon is likely to equal or exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recommended action level of 4 picocuries per liter, the agency reported.

The survey found about 40 percent of California homes around Tahoe are at or above that level, and that the basement measurement from one house was more than 20 times that level.

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