Have You Tested Your Home for Radon?

Written by admin, November 6, 2013

November 6, 2013 – Public Health Offers Videos and Fact Sheets to Protect Your Health From the Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer

With long term exposure to radon known to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada, Peterborough Public Health is recommending radon testing for all homes to determine if you or your family is at risk of radon exposure.

“Radon is a known public health concern for Canadians. The Environmental and Occupational Health team at Public Health Ontario estimates that 13.6% or almost 850 lung cancer deaths each year in Ontario are attributable to radon but few homeowners understand the risk or how to protect themselves against it,” says Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “The PCCHU is joining other public health units to help people understand this issue better, especially as we head into the seasons when we spend more time indoors.”

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium that is found in rocks and soil.  Radon gas is invisible: 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 is able to 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.

A national study completed by Health Canada found higher than recommended radon levels in homes tested throughout the country, which means your location or the age of your home cannot be used to evaluate your risk of exposure to indoor radon.  Long-term exposure to high levels of radon increases your risk of developing lung cancer.  This risk from radon exposure is long term and 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 inexpensive and easy,” said Dr. Salvaterra.  Test kits are available for purchase at local retailers and online.  Health Canada recommends testing occur during the winter months in the lowest lived-in area of your home as well as testing for a minimum of three months in order to obtain accurate results.

If your home tests above Health Canada’s guideline of 200 Bq/M3 it will need to be fixed.  The higher the level, the sooner it needs to be fixed.

To help residents understand how to place testing devices in their homes and learn more about radon, the PCCHU has posted several Health Canada videos and fact sheets on this website in the “Air Quality” section.

 

For more information, contact PCCHU at 705-743-1000 or visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.

 

Information from the Government of Canada is available at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/radon-eng.php.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391