Why you should test your home for radon gas

MISSISSAUGA – Radon poisoning is the number two cause of fatal lung cancer accounting for 16 per cent of lung cancer, according to the Lung Association of Ontario.

“Radon gas is accountable for sixteen percent of lung cancers,” George Habib, president of the Lung Association of Canada said. “Even if you’ve never smoked a day in your life.”

That is why, George Habib, president of the Lung Association of Canada said, his association is taking on this issue through an education campaign.

“If we can prevent even some of those cancers – its worth it,” he said.

The organization says radon is a radioactive gas that forms when uranium, in soil, rock and water breaks down.  The gas seeps into homes and buildings through cracks and holes in floors and foundations.

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Health Canada has set a level of 200 becquerels (Bq/m3) as an acceptable level of radon in Canadian homes.

But The only way to know the levels of radon in your home is a test.  Tests can be purchased at your local hardware store, or through organizations like the Ontario Lung Association.

Some certified home inspection companies also perform the test:  They can be done at a cost of roughly $250 and most tests look for the average level of radon over a 90 day period.

“Ours came back at 957,”  says Niagara homeowner, Jana Katz. “That is unbelievably high.”

Katz and her husband, Michael initially hired Holmes inspection Services to test for mould in their home but since HGTV host, Mike Holmes, has partnered with the Lung association to educate homeowners about radon poisoning,  his inspector recommended a radon test.

“You have kids – think of yourself, think of your friends, think of your family I don’t care what anybody says – this is something we need to pay attention to,” Holmes said.

The Niagara homeowners are glad they did the test.

“The scary part about radon,” Michael Katz said. “You can’t smell it, you can’t taste, it , you can’t see it.”

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“Is it easy to remedy?” Holmes said. “You put in an exhaust unit that pulls that off-gassing out of the earth and outside.”

And that’s what Jana and Michael Katz did, investing in a $2500 remediation system in their home. The system is a series of PVC pipe, vents and fans that pulls gas out of the home and lets it loose outside.

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