Homes: Radon gas can hurt

(NC) -- Ninety-seven per cent of Canadians don't know whether they have dangerous levels of radon in their homes, according to a recent survey by Health Canada. The Ontario Lung Association is determined to close that knowledge gap by alerting homeowners to the dangers of radon and urging them to get their homes tested.

“Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking,” says Ontario Lung Association air quality coordinator Connie Choy. “It's a colourless, odourless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the ground from the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Over time, it can get into homes and buildings through openings such as cracks in the foundation walls or floors, and can build up to dangerous levels.”

According to a Public Health Ontario burden of illness analysis, about 850 lung cancer deaths in Ontario each year are linked to radon exposure.

Choy says that the only way to find out if you have high radon levels in your home is to do a test. November is Radon Action Month, a great time to test your home. Test kits are available at home improvement stores or online for $30 to $60. Long-term test kits are recommended, allowing a testing period of at least three months. The best time to do a test is during the colder months when the home is sealed.

If the radon level is above recommended levels, you should contact a certified radon mitigator who will tell you what corrective measures should be taken. For more information about radon, contact the Ontario Lung Association Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864), email or visit


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