THUNDER BAY -- November is Radon Action Month. Six years ago, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit broke the news: Thunder Bay and area have a significant radon problem. Sixteen per cent of homes tested in Thunder Bay have radon readings above Health Canada’s recommended remediation level of 200 Bq/m3. Results were even higher in surrounding municipalities like Oliver Paipoonge, where 65 per cent of homes tested above the guidelines.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. What’s worse, smokers who are exposed to high radon have a one in three chance of developing lung cancer.
Radon is an invisible, odourless soil gas that seeps into your home primarily through the foundation. The only way to know if levels are high in your home is to measure it. That’s as simple as leaving a test, the same size and shape as a hockey puck, in place for three months, mailing the unit to the lab, and checking your email for the results.
There are many ways to address radon levels in your home, and it’s not necessarily expensive. EcoSuperior’s website has a list of local contractors who can help. The fix could be as simple as a sealed sump pit cover for about $200, or you may need a depressurization system, which can be installed for under $3000.
“Radon sounds scary, but it’s actually very easy to test,” said EcoSuperior Program Coordinator Caroline Cox. “If your home has high results, it’s reassuring to know that radon mitigation has been around for decades and that mitigation techniques have proven effective in dramatically lowering radon levels.”
Even side by side houses can have very different test results, so every home needs to be tested. Factors such as the geology below your home as well as differences in construction and age of the house have a dramatic effect on radon levels.
EcoSuperior will be running a series of Radon Information webinars throughout November and December. For more information or to register, visit www.ecosuperior.org/radon or call 624-2141. Workshops are delivered with support from Health Canada.
“Radon is not some dirty little secret here. It’s measurable, fixable and as common as dirt! November is Radon Awareness Month, so for the sake of every set of lungs in your household, pick up a test kit now,” said Cox.