Nova Scotians reminded to test for radon

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HALIFAX – Protecting homes and loved ones from radon gas is easy and inexpensive. Radon is a naturally occurring gas with no taste or smell that is formed when uranium breaks down in soil and rocks. Mail-in testing devices are affordable user-friendly. "When released into the outdoor air radon is diluted and harmless, but when it's released in an enclosed space like a home, it can sometimes accumulate to high levels," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief public health officer. "Radon becomes a risk to health when people are exposed to high levels over many years, which is why it's important to test homes." Winter months, when windows and doors are usually closed, is an ideal time to test how much radon is accumulating in living spaces from soil under buildings. Health Canada guidelines recommend that radon not exceed 200 bequerels per cubic metre in buildings and homes. Testing devices, including mail-in laboratory analysis, are available through environmental testing companies or on the Internet for $50 to $100. Health Canada recommends the devices be left in place for at least three months. Most radon problems are easily resolved. Homeowners can hire a contractor to resolve the problem. If a radon test shows levels above 200 bequerels per cubic metre: seal all cracks and openings in foundation walls and floors and around pipes and drains, paint basement floors and foundation walls with two coats of paint and a sealant and renovate existing basement floors, particularly earth floors For more information on radon gas, testing, and Health Canada guidelines, go to the Department of Environment's website at www.gov.ns.ca/nse/airlandwater/radon.asp .  

Organizations: Health Canada, Department of Environment

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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  • Matus Majersky
    January 16, 2013 - 12:19

    Remember that Health Canada recommends long-term radon tests to be conducted over at least a three-month period. After this period every radon testing device must be shipped quickly back to its laboratory for analysis. Make sure that the price you pay for a radon test-kit includes the laboratory analysis. In many cases it doesn't!