Test Your Home for Radon Gas

Written by admin, December 11, 2012

December 11, 2012 – Winter Months the Best Time to Test to Protect Your Health

With the colder weather keeping people indoors more often, Peterborough Public Health and Health Canada recommend that residents test their homes for radon gas, the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoking.

“Long-term exposure to radon significantly increases the risk of lung cancer.  This risk is increased even further among smokers,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “The good news is that it’s easy to reduce the risk by detecting if it’s present in your home with a simple home testing kit and taking the necessary steps to reduce your exposure.”

Radon is a colourless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment.  It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soils and rocks.  It is often thought that radon only occurs in areas where there are large uranium deposits.  However, a nation-wide sampling survey coordinated by Health Canada has revealed that the occurrence of radon is widely distributed and local geological conditions cannot be used to predict its presence or absence.

The greatest source of public exposure to radon occurs when the gas enters buildings through cracks in basements, floor drains, sump pits and other below-grade access points. 

“Fortunately, it is usually easy and relatively inexpensive to reduce radon to safe levels in buildings.  Simple measures such as sealing cracks in floors and openings around pipes, and improving ventilation are often highly effective,” said Dr. Salvaterra.

The Peterborough Public Health and Health Canada strongly recommend that all homes be tested for radon.  Test kits are available at local home improvements stores and online from the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada.  They are inexpensive and easy to use.  While short-term test kits are on the market, Health Canada recommends long-term testing for a minimum of three months in order to obtain results that are more accurate.

Further information and resources are available from the following websites:

Heath Canada:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2012/2012-165-eng.php

Radiation Safety Institute of Canada:

http://www.radiationsafety.ca/november-lung-cancer-awareness-month

Peterborough Public Health:

http://www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/my-home-environment/my-environment/health-hazards/radon/

 

-30-

For more information:

Shawn Telford-Eaton
Public Health Inspector
Peterborough Public Health
705-743-1000, ext. 287