Today's date: Monday October 20, 2014 Vol 47 Issue 42
   
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Health unit calls for radon gas testing

WELLINGTON CTY.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is recommending radon testing for all homes to determine if there is at risk of radon exposure.

Long-term exposure to radon is known to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada.

“Most people aren’t aware of the health risks of radon gas or how to protect themselves against it,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health with WDGPH.

“Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas from the breakdown of uranium that is found in rocks and soil. You can’t see, smell or taste it. In fact, the only way to know the radon level in your home is to test for it.”

Radon gas can enter buildings through cracks in foundation floors and walls, gaps in service pipes, open floor drains or any other area of exposed soil.

The highest concentrations of radon are generally found in basements and lower levels of homes. The risk from radon exposure depends on the level of radon, the length of exposure and a person’s smoking habits. Smoking combined with radon exposure greatly increases the risk of lung cancer, she said.

Testing for radon is relatively inexpensive and easy.  Test kits are available for purchase at local hardware stores and online. Health Canada recommends testing occur for a minimum of three months and during the winter.

A national study completed by Health Canada found higher than recommended radon levels in homes tested throughout the country, and concluded that the location or the age of a home cannot be used to predict risk of exposure to radon.  

If a home tests above Health Canada’s guideline it should be fixed. The higher the level, the sooner it needs to be fixed.  Public health provides information to guide homeowners in testing for radon and how to find a certified radon mitigation contractor, if needed. For information visit www.wdgpublichealth.ca.

Vol 46 Issue 45

November 8, 2013

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