Nearly a quarter of Estevan homes tested for radon during a recent project exceeded Health Canada's guideline of 200 Bq/m³. 

Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST)'s executive director, Pam Warkentin presented the Radon Test Kit Challenge findings virtually to city council on September 11 with Sandy Hutchison, a Health Canada radiation specialist.

Sixty-six of 100 households that received kits completed the testing. Of those, 23 had levels under 100 (34.8 per cent), 27 were between 100 and 200 (40.9 per cent), 16 were between 200 and 600 (24.2 per cent), and none were above 600.

Warkentin said the challenge is a national turnkey program that's been run in 120 communities across nine provinces, five First Nations, and 219 groups over the last five years.

"The reason that we run this program is to get people aware of radon and radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and exposure to radon also greatly increases the smokers' risk of getting lung cancer," she said.

Health Canada estimates that over 3,000 Canadians die annually from radon-related lung cancer.

"It's a radioactive gas that comes from the soil," explained Warkentin. "It can enter any building that has contact with the soil and move up in through the building... I can go up through all areas of the building, but typically the highest levels are found in the basement or the first floor. So that's often where we recommend people do the testing."

"Health Canada recommends that all buildings be tested using a three-month test during the heating season and any building that's found with levels above 200 [Bq/m³] being reduced," said Warkentin.

Councillor Shelly Veroba expressed interest following the presentation in bringing the challenge back to Estevan so more people can test their homes for free.

You can also locate a certified radon tester by following this link.

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