MINDEN, Nev. (AP) - Many Douglas County homes have elevated levels of a poisonous radioactive gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking.
The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension reports 35 percent of homes tested in Minden and Gardnerville have elevated levels of radon.
Nearly 60 percent of homes in the Lake Tahoe portion of the county - Stateline, Zephyr Cove and Glenbrook - have higher levels of the gas.
Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless gas that is dispersed in outdoor air, but can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings.
Cooperative extension officials are urging area residents to test their homes for radon in January - National Radon Action Month.
They say radon is "a serious health risk that is preventable and fixable."
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon causes more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths annually.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)