VIDEO: Healthy Unit Raising Radon Awareness

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is handing out 1,000 free radon test kits to local homeowners as part of a radon study.

As Radon Awareness Month continues, the health unit wants to teach residents about radon and encourage all Windsor-Essex residents to test their homes.

Health Promotion Specialist Karen Lukic says radon, which can cause a range of health issues, is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that's produced when uranium breaks down in the soil.  She says it's only a concern when it becomes airborne in homes up to 200 becquerels per-cubic-meter (Bq/m3) — 15% of homes in Windsor-Essex test over that threshold.

"It's not terrible, but it's certainly a concern considering the rest of Canada as a whole sits around 6% to 7%," says Lukic. "It's definitely a bit higher, so it's something we should be testing for." 

Lukic says the test unit is the size of a hockey puck and the process is very low maintenance. The tester needs to just be left alone for three months in the home before being sent off to a lab.

As heard on AM800's The Afternoon News, discovering a radon gas issue won't force residents to abandon their homes.

"Common things that they would do is they would seal-up cracks, repair areas where the gas could be coming in, and then add extra ventilation if required," say Lukic. "Anywhere from a few-hundred-dollars to a few-thousand-dollars is about the most you'd be looking at."

According to Health Canada, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.

This is the last year of a three-year study — Radon: Know Your Level.

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