Homes in Summerland have been among the households in Canada to participate in radon testing. (TakeActiononRadon.ca)

Homes in Summerland have been among the households in Canada to participate in radon testing. (TakeActiononRadon.ca)

Testing finds 38 per cent of Summerland homes have unsafe radon levels

Okanagan community one of 15 involved in national testing program

A study of radon gas in Summerland showed 38 per cent of homes that had been tested for radon were above Health Canada’s safe radon level.

Another 29 per cent of the homes tested had radon gas levels close to exceeding the recommended safe level.

The results are included in the Take Action on Radon Summerland Community Report.

Radon is a naturally occurring and cancer-causing radioactive gas that is responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 Canadians annually. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

READ ALSO: Summerland takes the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge

READ ALSO: Radon test kits will be distributed in Summerland

It is present in the air and can accumulate in high concentrations in homes — a particular problem in Canada, where homes are airtight and sealed during the winter. Long-term exposure to elevated levels of radon leads to an increased risk of lung cancer. Since radon levels can vary, even between neighbouring houses, the only way for homeowners to determine their home’s radon level is to test for it.

At least seven per cent of Canadian homes are believed to have radon levels above what Health Canada considers safe.

Summerland was one of 15 communities across Canada to participate in the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge.

The challenge, now in its third year, has resulted in more than 2,000 Canadians testing their homes for cancer.

To mark Radon Action Month this November, Take Action on Radon, a national health coalition, is hosting an interactive webinar for Canadians with radon experts from Health Canada, Simon Fraser University, and the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program on Nov. 19, at 10 a.m. Pacific time.

Canadians will be able to ask questions ranging from the impact of radon on their health to how to test their homes and reduce their risk of radon exposure. To register for this free webinar, visit www.TakeActiononRadon.ca.

The event will also highlight findings from the 2019 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge.

This winter, 20 new communities will participate in the challenge, further broadening Health Canada’s understanding of radon concentrations in the country and helping to protect Canadians against the risk of lung cancer.

“When it comes to protecting your family’s health and safety, testing for radon should be as automatic as installing a smoke detector or buckling your seatbelt,” says Pam Warkentin, executive director of the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists and project manager at Take Action on Radon.

“Testing is so easy to do. And if you receive high test results, mitigation systems are proven to be very effective.”

Take Action on Radon is a national health initiative that works to bring together radon stakeholders and raise radon awareness across Canada. It is led by the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST), CAREX Canada, and the Canadian Cancer Society.

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