Radon is an invisible, odourless, naturally occurring radioactive gas that can build up in any home – regardless of its size or when it was built.
Exposure to elevated levels of radon in the home can, over time, cause lung cancer. Radon is second only to smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer in Canadians, accounting for about 16% of all cases annually.
During Radon Action Month in November, Grey Bruce Public Health is encouraging residents to test their home for radon and learn about the potential health effects of radon exposure and ways to prevent or reduce exposure.
“For non-smokers, radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer death in Canada. For smokers, exposure to high levels of radon increases their risk of developing lung cancer to 33%,” says Andrew Barton, Senior Public Health Manager at GBPH.
“Protecting yourself and your family from radon exposure starts with testing your in-home radon levels. Because you can’t see, smell, or taste radon, testing is the only way to know if this gas is in your home.”
Radon is released into the environment when uranium found in soil, rock, or water breaks down. When radon escapes into the outdoor air, it is diluted and not a cause for concern.
However, radon can seep into homes through cracks in the foundation, gaps around pipes or drains or any other opening where the house contacts the ground. Radon can easily build up in Canadian homes that are well-sealed for the winter weather.
November is the perfect time to test for radon, as Health Canada recommends measuring radon for at least three months, ideally during heating season.
Grey-Bruce residents can either purchase a radon test kit and perform the test themselves or hire a professional to test their home.
More information on radon testing is available at www.takeactiononradon.ca/test-for-radon and on Grey Bruce Public Health’s dedicated Radon webpage (https://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/Your-Environment/Healthy-Housing/Radon#179674-how-do-i-test-for-radon)