Take Action on Radon, a coalition of national health organizations, is working with the Summerland Healthy Community initiative to distribute 100 free radon test kits this November as part of an initiative to raise awareness about the health risks associated with radon and to collect data on radon levels in the town.
“Many Canadians still don’t know that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and that simply reducing radon exposure can save lives,” said Pam Warkentin, executive director of the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists and project manager for Take Action on Radon.
“We commend Summerland for its leadership in bringing attention to this cancer-causing gas and helping its residents test their home for it by participating in the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge.”
Radon is a radioactive gas that is released by the breakdown of uranium in the soil. It is odourless, tasteless, and colourless, and can enter buildings and enclosed spaces undetected.
Since Canadian homes are sealed against the weather, radon can become trapped indoors, building up to dangerous levels.
Long-term exposure to high levels of radon damages the DNA in our lung tissue and is currently leading to more than 3,000 Canadian deaths each year – more than the combined toll of car collisions, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and drowning combined.
“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in our country, and on average 58 Canadians die from the disease every day,” said Jenny Byford, advocacy lead, Canadian Cancer Society.
“The reality is many of these deaths could be prevented by limiting exposure to radon. That is why we are calling on families to take action and test their homes for radon.”
A recent study commissioned by Health Canada found that only eight per cent of British Columbians have tested their home for radon.
“The interior of British Columbia has more elevated radon levels than the two highest provinces in Canada, New Brunswick and Manitoba. With the 100 Test Kit Challenge, we can educate residents of Summerland on how to test for radon in their home,” said Laura McCarron, a member of the Summerland Healthy Community Initiative.
Test kits will be distributed at the Centre Stage Theatre on Nov. 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Radon expert Cody Wright will be present to answer any questions related to radon.