New Brunswickers urged to take radon levels in homes more seriously

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Homeowners in New Brunswick urged to pay closer attention to radon levels
WATCH ABOVE: It's called a silent killer in New Brunswick. The radioactive gas radon exists in all homes but not everyone is acting to deal with the potentially cancer causing element. Global's Andrew Cromwell reports – Nov 10, 2016

New Brunswickers are being encouraged to pay closer attention to radon during the month of November.

Radon is a colourless, odorless gas that can be found in all homes and can be dangerous to your health if ingested in high amounts.

“Twenty-one per cent of homes in New Brunswick have radon levels above the Health Canada guideline of two hundred becquerels per cubic metre,” said Roshini Kassi of the New Brunswick Lung Association.

“That’s the highest in the country.”

READ MORE: Three New Brunswick schools test for elevated radon gas levels

Since a Health Canada survey did painted that harsh picture a few years ago, a follow up report suggested only about a third of that 21 per cent had done anything to change the situation.

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Homeowners are being encouraged to test the radon levels in their homes.

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It’s a fairly easy thing to do — a long term test kit costs about $30 and sits in your home for three months before being sent for analysis.

Radon is considered a public health issue. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer, killing about 3,000 people every year.

Real estate agents are also on board, encouraging residents to test their homes.

“It’s when they’re sitting down with people who are buying or selling houses so we can easily explain to them what radon gas is and how they can go through radon testing as a relates to a real estate transaction,” said Kari McBride of the New Brunswick Real Estate Association.

READ MORE: Radon gas can seep into home, cause lung cancer

If your home has elevated levels of radon the most common fix involves a hole in the floor, some pipe and a fan. Costs vary but most are reasonable.

“Between $2,000 and $3,000 on an average, which is probably about one per cent the cost of a house,” said Victor Nowicki, a certified radon measurement and mitigation expert.

“In a former home it may change the cost because it would depend on how easy or difficult it may be to put into a basement, for instance, which may be already finished.”

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The Lung Association has written to all federal MP’s in New Brunswick seeking support for a radon mitigation tax credit.

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