Radon Gas Second Highest Cause of Lung Cancer in Canadians
Photo provided by Take Action on Radon in partnership with Health Canada
The Canadian Lung Association wants everyone to get their home checked for high levels of Radon.
Across the country, November is Radon Awareness Month, and Chris Haromy, a respiratory therapist from the Canadian Lung Association, says that the goal of the month is to inform people about the realities of the cancer-causing gas.
Haromy explains that Radon is the gas left behind by the breakdown of Uranium, He goes on to say that it is naturally occurring, adding that it shows up in oils, rocks, and groundwater. Haromy reports that “unfortunately some homes build up to higher levels, that lead to an increased risk over many years of lung cancer.”
According to Haromy, Radon is the second highest cause of lung cancer in non-smoking Canadians each year. Haromy says that up to 16 per cent of lung cancer cases in Ontario are caused by Radon.
“There are maybe seven to 10 per cent of homes that have levels that are too high” says Haromy, adding “the only way to know actually is to test your home,” Haromy told My Muskoka Now.com that testing your home is relatively inexpensive, saying that for $50-$60 you can buy the test. Haromy emphasized that the test is easy, all it takes is leaving the puck-sized device in the basement or any area that you spend more than four hours in at a time for three months and send the device in to be analyzed. Haromy says the winter months are the ideal time to do so because typically levels will go up with the doors and windows being shut.
If your home comes back with high levels of Radon, Haromy explains there are a couple things that can be done. Haromy expresses that the most effective solution is something called sub-slab depressurization. This is typically done by experts says Haromy who goes on to say that they drill a hole in your basement floor and install a ventilation system that draws air in from beneath the floor, creating a negative pressure which creates minimal amounts of Radon.
Radon is undetectable to humans so Haromy says that it is important to test for it just in case.