November 4, 2013: Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is recommending radon testing for all homes to determine if you or your family is at risk of radon exposure. Long-term exposure to radon is known to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada.
“Most people aren’t aware of the health risks of radon gas or how to protect themselves against it,” says Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. “Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas from the breakdown of uranium that is found in rocks and soil. You can’t see, smell or taste it. In fact, the only way to know the radon level in your home is to test for it.”
Radon gas can enter buildings through cracks in foundation floors and walls, gaps in service pipes, open floor drains or any other area of exposed soil. The highest concentrations of radon are generally found in basements and lower levels of homes. The risk from radon exposure depends on the level of radon, the length of exposure and a person’s smoking habits. Smoking combined with radon exposure greatly increases the risk of lung cancer.
The good news is that testing for radon is relatively inexpensive and easy. Test kits are available for purchase at local hardware stores and online. Health Canada recommends testing occur for a minimum of three months and during the winter.
A national study completed by Health Canada found higher than recommended radon levels in homes tested throughout the country, and concluded that the location or the age of your home cannot be used to predict your risk of exposure to indoor radon.
If your home tests above Health Canada’s guideline it should be fixed. The higher the level, the sooner it needs to be fixed. Public Health provides information to guide homeowners in testing for radon and how to find a certified radon mitigation contractor, if needed.
For more information,
1-800-265-7293 ext. 4614