Health Unit Completes Three-Year Study on Radon in Windsor-Essex

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has completed its three year study on Radon.

More than 2,500 locations were tested for radon over the past three years. The gas is caused by decaying Uranium found in surrounding rock and soil — 11% of the buildings in the study came in higher than the maximum exposure level.

Health Promotions Specialist Karen Lukic presented a report to the board of directors. She tells AM800 News radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.

"Especially because you can't see it, smell it or taste it, it is one of those things where it's a silent killer ... the good news is that it's really easy to test for it," says Lukic.

The gas can enter basements through cracks in foundations and walls, usually rising to dangerous levels due to poor air circulation.

Lukic the study found pockets of radon all over Essex-County and in places residents might not expect it.

"We did find that newer homes, built after 2011, did have slightly higher levels than the much older homes, which is something that's contrary to what many people may think," she added.

Officials can't force residents to test, but Lukic says they can recommend municipally owned buildings like schools and hospitals are tested.

The report also recommends measures for new builds moving forward.

"Put these recommendations into policies so they will continue on and if there's new builds that go in, they can even rough in some of the mitigation systems, do a test after it's built, if there is a high level it's a very cheap and simple hook up to mitigate, versus having to do it all afterwards," says Lukic.

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Radon Testing Kit (Photo courtesy of www.wechu.org)

Test kits cost less than $50 at any local hardware store.

Lukic says, if radon is found, it can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 to have a certified contractor fix the issue.