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Radon Information
FREE Short Term Radon Test Kit! The free kits are available to Nevada residents for a limited time through County Extension Offices. In Clark County, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office is at 8050 Paradise Rd. Suite 100, Las Vegas, NV 89123. You may also visit the UNCE Nevada Radon Education Program website or call 888- RADON10 (888-723-6610) for more information. Their representative, Ms. Laura Au-Yeung, can be reached at (702) 257-5550. Laura is charged with radon education and is the public liason for the State in the Clark County area. Note: Although easy to handle, the test device offered by the State is very basic and requires care to set and must be dealt with in a timely fashion or the test may not be valid. At the end of the test period the kit is mailed back to the lab for analysis in a postage paid mailer. Be aware that the results may take awhile to get back from the lab due to in-transit time in the mail and lab testing time. This type of tester is not suitable for fast turn around times such as those required in a real estate sales transaction.

For real estate transactions and other situations requiring greater speed and accuracy of testing, I use a sophisticated, electronic measurement device, the Sun Nuclear 1027 that is re-calibrated every year by the nationaly renowned Bowser Morner analytical laboratory. The device is placed on-site for a minimum of 48 hours. At the end of the test period an immediate measurement read out is available followed by a written report. If your free test kit measures high readings of over 4 Pico Curies/Litre (pCi/l) it may be wise to call me and we can discuss options with you. A more accurate test may be in order.

Which ever method you choose, I highly recommend testing your home for radon! It's easy and it's the smart thing to do for you and your family!

The following article is reprinted from the University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension and is titled Nevada Education Program. It is lengthy but well worth reading!

For more information as a home buyer, seller, owner, or Realtor, in Henderson as well as Las Vegas, please visit the following links as well.

Radon in Real Estate - Includes an excellent, 12 minute video
Radon Information For the Home Buyer - Delves into Certified Radon Testers
Radon Information For the Home Seller - If the house has not yet been tested, how you can go about doing that or having it done
Radon Information For the Real Estate Professional - Some basic rules to consider for the real estate transaction in Henderson and Las Vegas

I am EPA certified for Radon Measurement and have taken the courses for mitigation as well. I use a sophisticated electronic test device made by Sun Nuclear to obtain not only very accurate readings but to have the answer immediately, on-site, at the end of the test period.

Note: Many counties may offer inexpensive charcoal test kits and although not as accurate as the electronic devices, can at least be a good starting place for very little to no cost. I encourage
everyone to at least test their home with the inexpensive tester and if readings are found to be high you can then contact Beacon Inspection Services and we can test more accurately if you wish.


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, it moves through the soil into the atmosphere, where it is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air or can enter buildings through foundation openings and become trapped inside. When it enters a building, it can accumulate and present a health concern for occupants. Buildings other than homes can also have radon concerns (such as commercial buildings, schools, apartments, etc.).

Radon breaks down into several radioactive elements called radon decay products, which are solid particles that become suspended in air. They are extremely small and easily inhaled, where they can attach to lung tissue. Not everyone exposed to radon will get lung cancer, but the greater the amount of radon and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer. 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.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Lung Association (ALA), the U.S. Surgeon General, and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) - in addition to many other health organizations - all agree that radon is a health concern that must be addressed. The U.S. Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, issued a national Health Advisory in 2005 warning Americans about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air. The nation's chief physician urged Americans to test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing.

"Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country," Dr. Carmona said. "It's important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques."

Dr. Carmona noted that more than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year.

The Radon Health Risk

Radon Health Risk Chart by Beacon Inspection Services of Nevada

Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year,
according to EPA's 2003 Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes
(EPA 402-R-03-003). The numbers of deaths from other causes —
Home Fires (2,800), Secondhand Smoke (3,000), Drownings (3,900),
Falls in the Home (8,000), Drunken Driving (17,400) — are taken from
the Centers for Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for
Injury Prevention and Control Report and 2002 National Safety Council
Reports and EPA Health Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke.

Source: U.S. EPA publication 402-K-07-009, A Citizen's Guide to Radon

According to EPA estimates, exposure to radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, more than drunk driving, household falls, drowning, or home fires.

Lung cancer is the only health effect which has been definitively linked with radon exposure. There is no evidence that other respiratory diseases, such as asthma, are caused by radon exposure and there are no immediate symptoms from exposure to radon. Smokers are at higher risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer.

However, as with those who smoke, not everyone exposed to high levels of radon will develop lung cancer, and the time between exposure and the onset of cancer may be many (5-25) years.

For more information:

* Radon health risks
* EPA's A Citizen's Guide to Radon
* More medical links

How Radon Gets Into Homes

Radon can enter and collect inside almost any home or other building through dirt floors, hollow block walls, cracks in the foundation floor and walls, sump pumps, openings around floor drains, joints and foundation openings for pipes, sewers and other utility connections. Radon can also enter homes through water supplies obtained from wells or from small water systems utilizing groundwater. Once inside, the gas can become trapped and pose a health risk.

While radon problems may be more common in certain areas of the country, any home in any state may be affected including:

* new homes
* old homes
* well sealed homes
* drafty homes
* homes with basements
* homes built on slabs
* homes with crawl spaces

Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have a high concentration at or above the EPA Action Level of 4 pCi/l. You cannot predict which homes will have high radon levels. Two identical homes next to each other can have different radon levels, depending on numerous variables, including how the home was constructed and lifestyle factors. The only way to know a building's radon level is to test.

How Radon Is Measured

Radon levels are measured in picocuries ("pee-co-cure-ees") per liter of air, often noted as pCi/l. This measurement describes how much radioactivity from radon is in one liter of the air found in a home.

* The EPA Action Level
EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General strongly recommend that you fix your home if you have 4 pCi/l or more of radon in your home.

There is no known safe level of exposure to radon since lung cancer can result from low exposures to radon. Exposure to radon at the EPA Action Level of 4 pCi/l poses a significant health risk. EPA based the 4 pCi/l Action Level on four factors: the health risk involved; the effectiveness of available mitigation technologies; cost-effectiveness; and, the goal set by Congress to reduce indoor radon levels to as close to the outdoor level as possible. EPA's estimate of radon-related lung cancer deaths is based on the population of the U.S. exposed to the national average indoor radon concentration of 1.3 pCi/l over a lifetime. Existing mitigation technologies allow the radon level in most homes to be reduced to 2 pCi/l or less most of the time.

Additional EPA recommendation: To help minimize your future risk, you should also seriously consider taking action to fix your home if your radon level is between 2 pCi/l and 4 pCi/l.

How to Find Out If You Have a Radon Problem

Since you can't see or smell radon, special equipment is needed to detect its presence. Test kits are commercially available, relatively inexpensive and easy to use. They can be purchased and used by the homeowner without outside assistance. Other types of test equipment are more technical and expensive and must be used only by specially trained people. To obtain a low-cost test kit, visit any University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office listed below or call 1-888-RADON10 (888)-723-6610

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offices offering radon test kits

When to Take Action

To help you protect your health and the health of your family, you should take action to fix your home if the result of one long-term test or the average of two short-term tests are 4 pCi/l or higher, and not on a single short-term screening test only. The higher the radon level in your home, the faster you should take action to reduce your exposure.

The EPA and the Nevada State Health Division believe that you should try to reduce your radon levels as much as possible. Most homes can be reduced to 4.0 pCi/l or lower. You should try to reduce your radon levels as much as possible. Most homes can be reduced to 4.0 pCi/l or lower. The Nevada State Health Division and Nevada Radon Education Program recommend you only use radon professionals who are certified through one of the two national voluntary radon proficiency programs — the National Environmental Health Association-National Radon Proficiency Program (NEHA-NRPP) and the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB).

Risk Factors to Consider

Your individual living patterns could influence your assessment of your personal risk. Your answers to the following questions may help you evaluate your personal risk.

Does anyone smoke in your home?
Scientific evidence indicates that smoking combined with radon is a very serious health risk. If a person smokes and is exposed to radon, the risk of lung cancer is much greater than radon exposure alone as described in the risk assessment chart below.
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Radon in Nevada
Radon Level


Lifetime Risk of Lung Cancer Death (per person) from Radon Exposure in Homes

Never Smokers

36 out of 1,000
18 out of 1,000
15 out of 1,000
73 out of 10,000
37 out of 10,000
23 out of 10,000
73 out of 100,000

Current Smokers

26 out of 100
15 out of 100
12 out of 100
62 out of 1,000
32 out of 1,000
20 out of 1,000
64 out of 10,000
General Population

11 out of 100
56 out of 1,000
45 out of 1,000
23 out of 1,000
12 out of 1,000
73 out of 10,000
23 out of 10,000
a Assumes constant lifetime exposure in homes at these levels.
b Estimates are subject to uncertainties as discussed in Chapter VIII of the risk assessment.
c Note: BEIR VI did not specify excess relative risks for current smokers.

Do you have children living at home?
Young children's lungs are smaller and their respiratory rates are twice as high as adults. They may also spend more time inside the house. Combined with their respiratory rate and length of exposure to elevated radon levels means children are exposed to the radon health risk at a much higher rate than adults.
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Bob Knauff (CRI)
Certified Home Inspector
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