November is Radon Awareness Month.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It can cause lung cancer when people breathe in too much of it over time. Smoking increases the chances that radon gas inhalation will lead to lung cancer. In Canada, lung cancer has a devastating impact on individuals and their families. In fact, lung cancer (along with colorectal, breast and prostate cancers) is one of the four types that make up close to 50% of all cancer cases diagnosed in Canada.
Why November? Health Canada suggests measuring radon preferably during the heating season. This makes November the perfect time to borrow a radon test kit, and start measuring the level in your home.
Indoor radon levels are normally at the highest in the winter or colder months because of the thermal stack effect, a snowy barrier, and tightly sealed homes. Cold temperatures increase the pressure within the home, meaning more air is being pulled in from the ground, which elevates the risk of radon entering the home.
There are no immediate signs or symptoms from breathing in background radon. Repeated exposure over time — around 20 years — can lead to cancer development, especially if you are also a smoker.
You can test the radon level of radon in your home by hiring a professional or by borrowing a radon meter from the REAL DEAL Store, 85 William St West, across from the Railway Museum, provided for community use by The Rideau Environmental Action League.
Call 613-283-7999 – the REAL DEAL Store and ask to borrow a meter. They can be picked up from the store from Wednesday – Saturday 9:30-5:00 p m and the staff will instruct you on their use. You may keep the meter for a two week period which allows you to place them in several areas in your home for separate readings.
Any reading over 200 is considered high and if this is the case in your home, you can then call an experienced company who advise you on how to mitigate the problem.