Towns across BC have joined the BC Lung Association in proclaiming November Radon Aware month – Prince George, Kamloops, Penticton, Princeton, Trail, Creston, Nakusp, the Village of Salmo, Fort. St. James and Keremeos.
Radon gas exposure accounts for an average of 55 percent of a person’s lifetime radiation exposure – and for as many as 16 percent of all lung cancer deaths each year in Canada.
“Radon is one of the most hazardous sources of indoor air pollution in Canada,” said Dr. Peter Paré, Chair of the BC Lung Association and Professor Emeritus of Respiratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia. “And BC community involvement is vital to making real progress on the issue.”
“It’s encouraging how many BC community leaders have stepped up and spoken out in a short period to help keep BC families safe from radon-related lung cancer risk,” he continued. “It’s a serious issue and we expect community support will grow further.”
“No one should have to suffer from preventable radon-caused lung cancer. Home radon testing is affordable, and relatively straightforward solutions exist to reduce radon to safe levels if it turns out the radon level in your home exceeds the recommended safety threshold,” he said.
Affordable do-it-yourself radon test kits are available online at RadonAware.ca, which include home delivery of lab results.
And while the BC Lung Association continues to promote community action, they’re also championing the issue with industry groups central to the development of a comprehensive solution.
“To put a stop to radon-related lung cancer – building inspectors, builders and tradespeople, realtors, and home warranty organizations will all play a very significant role,” said Britt Swoveland, RadonAware Manager for the BC Lung Association.
“Radon policies and regulations need to be established to ensure both new and existing BC buildings are future-proofed from the risk of radon. And these policies need to be effectively enforced.”
“Ultimately, it needs to become standard practice to address radon when buildings are constructed, financed, re-financed, insured, retrofitted or sold,” continued Swoveland. “As in the US and elsewhere, at some point, radon inspections will likely become a routine step in any real estate transaction”.
“The BC Lung Association is right. To effectively address the threat that radon poses to public health, actions are required on many fronts,” said Dr. David Boyd, environmental lawyer, author and adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University. “In addition to residential testing, there should be strategies to ensure that radon testing, and if necessary radon mitigation measures, are undertaken in all public buildings with priority given to schools and daycare facilities” he added.
“The good news,” continued Dr. Boyd, “is that radon problems can be fixed, at a moderate cost, both in new home construction and in retrofitting existing buildings. We just need to get on with it.”
Learn more about radon, purchase a radon test kit including home delivery of lab results online and/or enter to win one of three test kits given away monthly at the BC Lung Association’s RadonAware.ca.