It’s time to test your home for radon gas, second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoking

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PARLIAMENTARY Secretary of Health Eve Adams on Tuesday joined the New Brunswick Lung Association and Summerhill Impact Group to announce the Government’s support for the first annual National Radon Action Month, and to encourage all Canadians to test the levels of radon gas in their homes.

“This is an opportunity to educate Canadians about a significant, but relatively unknown, health risk that may exist in their homes,” said Adams. “Our government is encouraging everyone to conduct a simple test to measure the radon level in their home and to take steps to reduce the level if necessary.”

Health Canada estimates that 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths among Canadians are attributable to indoor radon exposure, making radon gas the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoking.

“The Lung Association is very proud to launch Radon Action Month, in partnership with Summerhill Impact Group and with support from Health Canada,” said Barbara MacKinnon, President and CEO of the New Brunswick Lung Association. “A key strength of our Association lies in our ability to translate science into usable information for Canadians, so that together we can prevent lung disease. This campaign builds on that strength and is all about enabling people with the information they need to protect their family’s health.”

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas in the ground that can’t be seen, smelled or tasted. It can get into the home undetected through cracks in the foundation or gaps around pipes. The only way to measure the radon level in the home is to take a simple and inexpensive test, which can be purchased at many hardware stores and local community health organizations.

Health Canada recommends testing for a minimum of three months starting in the fall, when windows and doors typically remain closed. If the radon level is found to exceed the Canadian guideline of 200 becquerels per cubic meter, then it can be reduced at a reasonable cost. Homeowners can visit Health Canada’s website for information on the steps they can take to reduce radon levels in their home or visit www.takeactiononradon.ca.