National News

Canadians urged to test their homes for radon.

(November 30, 2010)

The first year results of the Government of Canada’s Cross-Canada Survey of Radon Concentrations in Homes demonstrate the need for Canadians to test their homes for radon.

Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and Steve Blaney, Member of Parliament for Lévis—Bellechasse, announced the results.

“You can't see it, smell it, or taste it. The only way to know if you have a radon problem is to test your home,” said Minister Aglukkag.Health Radon

“The first year results of this survey reinforce how important it is for Canadians to test their homes,” said Mr. Blaney. “Our Government recommends using long-term test devices for a minimum of three months, in fall, winter and early spring when the windows are closed. If the radon level is high, the problem can be fixed.”

“November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Radon is the second leading cause of cancer, after smoking,” said Heather Borquez, president and CEO of the Canadian Lung Association.

“Last year, lung cancer claimed the lives of 20,500 Canadians. It’s estimated that about 10 per cent of lung cancer deaths are related to long-term exposure to residential radon. We urge Canadians to protect their loved ones by testing their homes for radon.”

This two-year survey of approximately 18,000 homes, to be completed in 2011, will estimate the number of homes with radon levels above the current Canadian guideline.

Radon gas is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium in the ground. It can get into homes through foundation cracks and openings and build up to unacceptably high levels.

Radon levels vary from house to house depending on a number of factors such as the soil the home is built on, construction and ventilation. While the radon levels in the vast majority of Canadian homes are below the current Canadian guideline, first-year results of the Cross-Canada Survey of Radon Concentrations in Homes indicate that approximately 7% of Canadian homes have elevated radon levels – a number that is slightly higher than originally predicted.

Radon self-test kits are available through the internet from radon service providers and at certain hardware stores. If radon levels in a home are above the Canadian guideline of 200 becquerels/metre³, Health Canada recommends taking steps to reduce the radon level in the home. The higher the level of radon the sooner action should be taken to address the problem.

Picture: (from left to right) the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Kelley Bush, Head, Radon Education and Awareness for Health Canada, Mr. Steven Blaney, Member of Parliament for Lévis-Bellechasse, and Heather Borquez, President and CEO, Canadian Lung Association.

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