What YOU need to know about Radon
Radon gas is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer, responsible for >20,000 deaths/year in North America.
Radon accumulates in the household atmosphere, especially during the winter heating season (Oct to Apr).
Radon gas emits ALPHA radiation. Inhaled radon can precipitate and become trapped in lungs, emitting radiation for decades.
ALPHA radiation causes DNA damage that is difficult for your body to repair, leading to genetic mutations causing cancer.
The Canadian Prairie Provinces have high levels of radon. This makes sense, as there a lot of radioactive elements in Prairie soil, such as uranium and radium that give rise to radon gas.
Radon levels are measured in Becquerels (Bq) per cubic metre (m3) of air, or Bq/m3. One Bq is equivalent to one atom of radon emitting one alpha particle each second.
Radon testing is relatively cheap (~$60) and straightforward. If your home tests high, there are effective mitigation steps you can take to permanently fix the problem – these fall in the category of minor renovations, and are generally much cheaper than most home projects such as replacing a boiler or major appliances.
Our Preliminary Radon Testing Results
University of Calgary researchers have been collecting data on household radon levels since 2013.
So far, we have tested homes across Southern Alberta, and are now scaling up to cover Western Canada.
How YOU can help cancer researchers, and your family as well
We have contracted a Health Canada certified, Calgary-based radon testing company called RadonWest to conduct radon testing on our behalf.
We rely on volunteer homeowners (our 'citizen scientists') to pay for their radon testing device, offered at cost only ($60) including the device, postage and laboratory costs.
The readings from volunteers are provided to cancer research in an anonymous manner, meaning researchers receive only radon readings matched with the first three digits of a volunteers post code. No personal information is released.
Volunteers receive the full details of their readings, and professional advice on what to do if it comes back high.