Salmon Arm hosting information session about radon

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District will be holding an information session about radon in Salmon Arm on Monday, January 14. Global News

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is invisible, tasteless and odourless.

Health Canada says in the great outdoors, radon isn’t a concern. But if it seeps indoors, radon can be a health risk.

“Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when the uranium in soil and rock breaks down. It is invisible, odourless and tasteless,” Health Canada says on its website.

“When radon is released from the ground into the outdoor air, it is diluted and is not a concern. However, in enclosed spaces, like homes, it can sometimes accumulate to high levels, which can be a risk to the health of you and your family.”

The Lung Association says “if you live in a building with high radon levels or if you spend a lot of time in one, you are at higher risk for lung cancer. If you smoke and you live in a home with a high level of radon, you are at an even higher risk for lung cancer.”

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Enter the Columbia Shuswap Regional District [CSRD].

On Monday, January 14 at Okanagan College in Salmon Arm, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the CSRD will be hosting a free public information session on radon. For more about the information session, click here.

According to the CSRD, “exposure to radon gas is known to cause lung cancer — it is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smoking Canadians. The only way to know if radon is present in your home is to test.”

Health Canada says the current Canadian guideline for radon in indoor air is 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (200 Bq/m3). A Becquerel means one radioactive disintegration per second.

Revelstoke municipal director and mayor Gary Sulz says his home was recently tested for radon. His reading was 4,500 Bq/m3. Sulz says in the year since the test, he has taken measures so radon cannot build up inside the home.

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Sulz noted his father-in-law, who lived in the home for much of his life, died of lung cancer.

“We will never know the exact cause,” Sulz said in a press release, “but I have vowed to mitigate my home to protect my family, my grandchildren.”

Helath Canada expects that only a small percentage of homes in Canada will have radon levels above its guidelines, but the only way to be sure is to have your home tested.

For more about the information session, click here.

For about radon, visit Health Canada here.

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