Ten Abbotsford homes that were involved in the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge learned that their houses had radon gas levels exceeding the recommended safe zone, and one home was above the safe level, according to a national health coalition.
Take Action on Radon, a national initiative funded by Health Canada, tested 82 local homes in the winter of 2019.
Abbotsford was among 15 communities that took part, and results were released Thursday (Oct. 29).
Radon is an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas that can accumulate in high concentrations in homes. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon leads to an increased risk of lung cancer.
Radon enters a home through contract with the ground, and can build up to elevated levels, which can vary among neighbouring homes.
The levels are reduced the most by installing a radon mitigation system.
“Radon is a bit like COVID-19. The only way to know if you have it is by testing,” says Pierre Dubois, who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.
“My wife and I thought we were safe in our quiet neighbourhood, but we weren’t. After testing, we discovered very high levels of radon in our home. I wish I had known the risks 10 years ago when we bought the house. Now, my only hope is that my wife’s health hasn’t been compromised as well.”
In Canada, it is estimated that at least seven per cent of residents live in homes with radon concentrations above what Health Canada considers safe.
Radon Action Month is held in November, and another 20 new communities will participate in the testing challenge this winter.
Visit takeactiononradon.ca for more information – including how to purchase a test kit – or to attend an interactive webinar with radon experts on Nov. 19 at 10 a.m.