As a health conscious and physically active non-smoker I never thought I was at risk for developing the most deadly of cancers – lung cancer. However, in 2011 I learned about the dangers of radon gas from The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT and am so thankful that I did.
After learning that radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers I immediately decided to test my home. When the test results came back I was shocked to learn that the radon levels in my home were more than double the guidelines set by Health Canada. This meant that I was being exposed to a radiation dose equivalent to approximately 90 chest X-rays every year! This terrified me. I have always been someone that takes pride in maintaining a healthy lifestyle which includes working out and eating right. To know that I was unnecessarily being exposed to something that was so dangerous made me feel like my health was no longer in my own hands.
Thankfully, I was not left feeling helpless for long. I subsequently hired a certified radon mitigation contractor to install a mitigation system that lowered the radon levels in my home to below the recommended action level. I can now breathe easier knowing I have lowered my risk of developing lung cancer.
Now, I am passionate about spreading the word about the dangers of radon. I encourage everyone to test their homes for radon. It is a simple, inexpensive test that can save your life. Think about it: it is so commonplace to test for carbon monoxide in your home, yet so many people are unaware of the other tasteless, odourless, colourless gas (radon) which is a danger to your health. Please test for radon in your home!
– Hayley, Cochrane, Alberta
There are various radon measurement devices on the market today. To find a list of long term measurement devices approved by the Canadian – National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP), please visit http://c-nrpp.ca/approved-radon-measurement-devices.
Additionally, a list of certified radon measurement and mitigation professionals can be found on the C-NRPP website at http://c-nrpp.ca/find-a-professional.
Health Canada recommends that houses be tested for a minimum of 3 months, ideally between September and April when windows and doors are typically kept closed. If you choose to test your home during months outside of Health Canada’s recommendation, The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT suggests that you test your home for a full 12 months. The result obtained after 12 months will provide you with your yearly average radon exposure.
To learn more visit http://www.ab.lung.ca/~ablung/site/radon.
– Amy Elefson, Program Specialist – Environment and Health, The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT