It’s responsible for more than $2 billion in direct and indirect healthcare costs within the United States alone.

It’s the leading cause of lung cancer deaths in non-smokers.

It’s odorless. It’s colorless. It’s tasteless.

It’s radon, and it’s the focus of Thursday’s Knowledge at Noon program through the Ford County Extension office.

Kansas Extension Office Radon Program Coordinator Brian Hanson will present information to Dodge City citizens regarding the inherent dangers of this radioactive gas, and what can be done to mitigate the dangers it poses.

"I'll be talking about radon basics (what it is, health effects, how it gets into homes)," said Hanson, "as well as how to measure your home for radon and, if the levels are elevated, how to reduce radon levels."

Radon is a gas produced by the natural decay of radioactive materials within the soil.

Environmental Protection Agency estimates originally placed a higher likelihood of radon occurrence within the north and west portions of Kansas, but Hanson said everyone regardless of location should be cautious.

"That risk survey was fairly conservative and under-estimated radon levels in the state," he said. "All homes, regardless of geographic location should test for radon."

A map produced by the EPA shows that the entire state falls solidly within medium and high concentrations of indoor radon levels.

"The Kansas Radon Program estimates that more than one in three homes statewide will test with elevated levels of radon," Hanson said. "Long-term radon exposure in homes increases lifetime risk of developing lung cancer."

Hanson recommended that all homes in Kansas should be tested for radon gas concentrations, and if confirmed elevated, take steps to actively reduce indoor radon levels.

The Knowledge at Noon program is open to the public and is free of charge. The local extension office recommends bringing a lunch if you wish and coffee and tea will be provided.

For more information, contact the Ford County Extension Office at 620-227-4542 or email Ethel Schneweis at eschnewe@ksu.edu.