The BC Lung Association has been working hard to raise awareness of the public health risks of indoor radon gas. After smoking, exposure to radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in Canada. In fact, radon gas accounts for 55% of people’s lifetime exposure to radiation. Each year, as many as 16% of lung cancer deaths in Canada can be attributed to indoor radon exposure. Most people are exposed to unsafe levels of radon in their homes, workplaces and schools.
“Raising awareness of the health risks of radon is just one part of the process,” says Britt Swoveland, Program Manager for RadonAware. “We also need to ensure that homeowners have trained professionals that can properly fix, and control, a radon problem should a home radon test indicate unsafe levels.”
Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program
Since 2013, the BC Lung Association has been supporting industry in their efforts to offer homeowners a certified home radon testing and mitigation service. They implemented Western Canada’s first distance education courses leading to full measurement and mitigation certification recognized by Health Canada, and also offered an incentive program to residents of BC that received Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP) certification. Since the incentive program, the number of C-NRPP professionals across BC has doubled.
Leanne Jensen of New Dawn Developments based in Cranbrook, BC recently obtained her C-NRPP certification. “In the course of our work, we come across hazardous materials,” says Jensen. “Radon testing and mitigation seemed a natural service to offer; I want to help reduce the risk of exposure in our region.”
“The BC Lung Association incentive program made the decision to take the radon measurement and mitigation courses an easy one.” Leanne Jensen, recipient of the BC Lung Association C-NRPP certification incentive.
Radon training and certification
“The BC Lung Association is thrilled with the interest in radon training and certification,” says Swoveland. As more and more people become aware of the serious health risk of radon the BC Lung Association believes demand for qualified service providers will increase.
So how will Leanne Jensen be putting her recent C-NRPP certification to good use? “We will be encouraging our clients and colleagues to place test kits in their homes over the winter. Once we have the results, we can assist those with elevated radon levels to bring their homes and workplaces to within Health Canada’s guidelines.”
“I think the first step is to spread the message that the risk is real – radon is a serious public health risk, testing is simple and affordable, and solutions are available to reduce exposure.” Leanne Jensen.
For more than 100 years, the BC Lung Association has led the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air. We work every day to save lives; preventing and improving lung health through research, advocacy, education and support. We are leading the fight in British Columbia to reduce radon induced lung cancer. To learn more about radon training and certification please visit the BC Lung Association’s RadonAware Program at www.radonaware.ca