Winter is the best time to test your home!
Ottawa residents are encouraged to test their homes for radon gas to ensure levels do not exceed health guidelines. Long-term exposure to high levels of this harmful gas can cause lung cancer—and smoking can increase this risk by ten-fold or more. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released when uranium in soil, rock, or water breaks down. It is invisible, odourless and tasteless and can only be detected through testing. Radon is not a health concern outdoors; however, indoors it can accumulate in a building. It is easy to test for radon and if levels are found to be high, remediation is less difficult than most people imagine.
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Radon and Lung Cancer
In Canada, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in people who do not smoke. When people who smoke also have long-term exposure to elevated levels of radon, there is a significantly increased risk of developing lung cancer. While the lifetime exposure to continuous high levels of radon in a non-smoker can pose a risk of developing lung cancer as high as 1-in-20, that risk can increase to 1-in-3 for a person who smokes. This makes radon another important reason to quit smoking. All homes, and in particular those of persons who smoke, should be tested for radon.
Do you have high levels of radon gas in your home?
Studies by Health Canada have shown that radon concentrations vary a great deal across Canada. Elevated indoor radon levels occur in Ottawa, in Ontario, and in every Canadian province, but it is difficult to predict which homes are most at risk. The only way to know if you are being exposed to high levels of radon gas is to test for it. Testing for radon is easy and affordable. Do-it-yourself radon test kits can be purchased over the internet and at local hardware and building supply stores. The cost of testing is now as low as $22 including lab analysis. You can also hire a radon testing company to test your home.
Radon levels of 200 or more Becquerels per cubic metre in a normal occupancy area of the home should be remediated. For a list of certified Canadian radon testing and remediation companies consult the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP) or call 1-855-722-6777.
For more information, contact Ottawa Public Health at 613 580 6744, view information on-line or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org