Canadians need to watch for silent killer in their homes

A reminder is going out to Canadians to be aware of radon, an invisible, odourless, and dangerous gas that could be lurking in their homes.

Health Canada’s Manager of Radon Outreach said radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that dissipates harmlessly outdoors.

But Kelly Bush warned that if radon accumulates in an enclosed space, like a home, it can become a serious health risk. In fact, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, causing an average of 3,000 deaths in Canada every year. Long-term exposure to Radon is linked to approximately 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths in Canada.

“Not enough Canadians know about radon and how harmful it can be,” said Bush. “It’s important to test your home for radon and take steps to reduce your family’s exposure if elevated levels are detected.”

People interested in testing for Radon can pick up a kit at their local hardware store.

Radon is measured in Becquerels, and Health Canada suggested people take action if the level is higher than 200 Bq/m3 .

“Sometimes the fix is as simple as sealing cracks in the walls or covering open sump holes. If the levels are very high a certified radon mitigation contractor would have to be hired to install an Active Soil Depressurization System. This is a more complex fix but it basically acts like a large filter where a hole is drilled in your basement floor and a pipe is installed with a fan that draws the radon gas from under your house and pushes it outside. Once it is outside it will dissipate in the air to safe levels,” according to the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

 

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