The City of Estevan is partnering with Take Action on Radon to provide free radon testing kits to all Estevan residents.
It's part of a program called the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge.
According to a release from Take Action on Radon, which is a coalition of national health organizations, radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers and can be found in elevated concentrations in homes across the country.
"On average 58 Canadians will die from lung cancer every day, making it the leading cause of cancer death in Canada," said Lynn Murad, a cancer prevention specialist with the Canadian Cancer Society. "It’s important that Canadians know they can control their risk from radon by testing their homes and reducing their exposure."
Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol, a researcher from the Faculty of Sciences at Simon Fraser University, reiterated the importance of testing for radon.
"Radon is a well-established human carcinogen and testing and reducing radon levels is an important method of lung cancer prevention," Nicol said. "Residential radon is marked as Canadians' primary exposure to radon; preventing radon exposure will reduce the number of Canadians dying of lung cancer."
Katharina Ulbrich is coordinating the program in Estevan.
"After learning about this program, I thought it was a great opportunity to help families test their homes for radon. We are all spending more time at home, and so it’s an important step for families to take to reduce their radon levels," Ulbrich said.
"We hope to get 100 people who are willing to test in Estevan. When I talked to friends, I found out that a lot of people did it already and paid for it, and I was very happy to find that out. But there's still a lot of people who have never heard of radon testing," she said.
Ulbrich said the more people test, the more accurate information organizers will get, which will help with assessing the city as a whole.
"If you test and your levels are great, your neighbour's test results can be totally different, so it's not that you can say one neighbourhood is good and one is not...it can vary from one house to the next," she said.
Ulbrich's husband is a home inspector in Estevan. She said she learned of the importance of radon testing through his work, then learned about the program and helped bring it to Estevan.
Project manager Pam Warkentin said testing is easy and should be done by everyone.
"Testing for radon is simple to do, and there are effective solutions available to reduce radon levels in homes where radon levels are elevated," said Warkentin. "The first step is to know your radon level. Every home needs to test for radon – it’s that simple."
The release said residents will be able to pick up their test kits from Nov. 25 to Dec. 2 at the Estevan Public Library.
There is also an online information session planned for Nov. 23 at 6 p.m.