You can’t see it, taste it or smell it, but radon gas can be dangerous to your health and it’s prevalent in Regina.
Radon is a natural radioactive gas that is found in many homes across Canada but Saskatchewan is a hot spot for it.
The gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer and according to Health Canada, about one in four homes in the Regina area exceed safe levels of radon.
Jill Hubick, a registered nurse with the Lung Association of Saskatchewan, said far more people die from radon than carbon monoxide.
“In Canada alone, we estimate 3,200 deaths each year are caused just by radon,” she explained.
You can take action to prevent radon by testing your home using kits that are available for order online.
Hubick said winter is the best time to test for radon because your home is more closed up.
“You simply take the radon detector and put them in the lowest level of your home where you or loved ones spend four hours or more a day,” Hubick said.
When the test is complete, you send it back to the Lung Association and they will send you back the results.
If tests come back for radon, there are a number of things you can do. Hubick recommended first getting into contact with a certified radon mitigation expert who can let you know where radon is coming in and how you can fix it.
There are different methods of dealing with radon and it depends on where the source is coming from. It could be as simple as sealing cracks in a home’s foundation.
“Certainly in Regina we see a lot of homes shift and crack with clay soil,” Hubick said.
Donna Pasiechnik is with the Canadian Cancer Society and helps people reduce their risks of cancer. She’s been learning about radon gas to help the public better understand it and its risks.
The Canadian guideline for radon is that no home should exceed a level of 200 becquerels per cubic meter in any area of the home.
Pasiechnik decided to test her home. Her first test came back at just over 100 and last winter she tested her home for a third time with her levels coming back at 260. That’s when she called in professional help and got her basement’s radon level down to 70.
“We feel a whole lot better about those levels and that we’ve potentially reduced our risk of lung cancer,” Pasiechnik said.
The expert she called in sealed up her sump pump hole and bolted down a cover so the gases under the foundation don’t seep up into the house. She also had a pipe system put in her storage room, where the pipe pulls gas up from under the house and vents it out.
“We now feel like we’ve done our part to reduce potential risk from that gas,” Pasiechnik said.
The expert had told her there have been a lot of cracking and ground shifting in Regina basements this year.
“We just decided we just didn’t want to live with the fear anymore of potentially being exposed to a radioactive gas in our home where we live and sleep,” she said.
Pasiechnik is encouraging everyone to test their homes because it’s a simple way to reduce your risk of potentially developing lung cancer.