Health Canada is urging Manitobans to test their home for radon this winter.
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second cause overall behind tobacco. Radon kills around 100 Manitobans every year.
Manitoba is prone to radon. An estimated 19 percent of homes in the province exceeds the Guideline level.
Sandy Hutchison, a Regional Radiation Specialist with Health Canada, says that it is rather easy to test your home for radon.
“All it involves is picking the right location in your home to measure the air that you’re breathing on a regular basis, leave out a detector for, preferably, a 3 month period, and then send it back to the laboratory,” said Hutchison. “They will give you a result compared to our guideline.”
Hutchison says it’s especially important to test in Dauphin because, during a recent survey conducted by Health Canada, 23 out of 32 Dauphin homes tested had radon levels above the Guideline.
If radon is determined to be in your home, there are things you can do to help reduce radon levels. If you have a concrete floor in your basement, you can drill a 4-inch hole through the floor and use a pipe and fan to draw the gas up and out of your home.
Hutchison says that there are no real tell-tale signs of whether or not your home has radon in it.
“Testing is the only way to know,” said Hutchison. “It doesn’t matter the age of your home, the size of your home; there are just too many factors to predict.”
Radon testing kits cost around $60.
More information on radon testing and what to do if you find radon can be found here.