November is Radon Action Month and the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit is encouraging homeowners to test their houses for radon.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. Lung cancer from radon depends mostly on three factors: the level of radon you are exposed to, the duration of exposure and smoking habits. Smoking or radon exposure can increase the risk of lung cancer; however, exposure to both greatly enhances that risk.
Radon is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soils and rocks. When radon is released from the ground into the outdoor air, it is diluted and is not a concern. When radon is released in enclosed areas such as homes, it can accumulate to high levels and can cause a health risk with long-term exposure. Radon can enter homes through cracks in foundations, construction joints, gaps around pipes, sump pumps and drains, and exposed rock in basements etc. Some radon will be found in everyone’s home. The health risk increases as the level of radon and the duration of exposure increases. Health Canada recommends that radon levels do not exceed 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (200 Bq/m3).
Health Canada recommends that homeowners do a long-term radon test, for a minimum of three months, during the fall or winter. Radon levels in a home can fluctuate throughout the seasons; levels are usually higher in the fall and winter when our windows are closed. The detector should be placed in the lowest level of the home where homeowners spend a minimum of 4 hours per day.
If radon levels in your home are above the Canadian guideline (200 Bq/m3), Health Canada recommends hiring a professional certified under the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (www.c-nrpp.ca) to help reduce radon levels. Lowering radon levels in a home requires specific technical knowledge and skills to ensure the job is done properly.
Our Health Unit will be holding community information sessions to raise awareness about radon. A limited number of free radon test kits will be available at the community information sessions. Sessions are open to the public free of charge. Dates and locations of sessions are listed below (no registration needed):
- November 5, 2019 – Carleton Place Public Library (101 Beckwith St., Carleton Place, ON) – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
- November 17, 2019 – Facebook Live Session accessed through the LGLDHU Facebook page – 12:00-1:00 p.m.
- November 21, 2019 – Smiths Falls – LGLDHU Office (25 Johnston St., Smiths Falls, ON) – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
- November 27, 2019 – Gananoque Secondary School – Cafeteria (175 William St., Gananoque, ON) – 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Starting November 1st, 2019, test kits can be purchased from our Brockville and Smiths Falls offices for $20.00. This is a discounted price available to residents within our Health Unit area. For more information visit www.healthunit.org email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-660-5853.