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Health Canada, Saskatchewan health groups warn residents about dangers of radon

Health Canada, Saskatchewan health groups warn residents about dangers of radon
WATCH: Sixteen per cent of the homes in Saskatchewan are estimated to be above the radon level guideline which is 200 Bq/m3.

Health groups in Saskatchewan are encouraging residents to test their homes for radon.

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer and is responsible for killing more than 3,200 Canadians each year.

That number amounts to more deaths annually than vehicle collisions, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and drownings combined.

READ MORE: What you should know about radon gas

Sandy Hutchison, a radiation specialist with Health Canada, said there is no better time of year than now to test for radon.

“Our homes are closed out because we have winter knocking at the door, the furnace is on [and] that is making the heat rise out of your home, drawing more radon in,” Hutchison said.
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WATCH: Keeping radon levels down in your home

Keeping radon levels down in your home
Keeping radon levels down in your home

As for symptoms, Hutchison said it’s better to be proactive rather than waiting until you feel sick.

READ MORE: Is there too much radon in your home? Only 6 per cent of Canadians test for dangerous gas

“I would encourage you to test now. It’s really simple. You can get a detector, put it in the occupied area of your home, leave it for about three months and send it off to a lab,” Hutchison said.

“That’s a much better indicator of where your risk stands.”

WATCH: What you should know about radon gas

What you should know about radon gas
What you should know about radon gas

Every home and building contains levels of radon, but Frank Kirkpatrick, owner of Master Radon, said installing a sub-slab depressurization system will reduce risk.

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READ MORE: Saskatchewan radon gas levels higher than national average

“It draws air from out from underneath floor and creates this vacuum under the floor,” Kirkpatrick said. “The radon and the air under the floor travel through a pipe and the fan will direct it outdoors.”

“From the day we install the system, the continuous radon monitor will be monitoring the levels of radon on an hourly basis and the homeowner will always know the radon levels in the home.”

READ MORE: 1 in 8 Calgary homes have high levels of cancer causing radon gas: U of C study

Kirkpatrick said that not many people are aware radon exists, which is why it’s important to spread the message of the danger it can cause.

“I estimate five years ago, 80 per cent of people had never heard of radon and absolutely 80 per cent or more now have heard of radon and have started asking questions,” Kirkpatrick said.

As part of Radon Awareness Month, the Saskatchewan Lung Association is holding an event on Monday night at 7 p.m. in the Executive Royal Hotel in Regina to help educate the public on radon.