Calgary — after discovering a significant health threat in many Calgary homes, University of Calgary researchers are turning their attention to the rest of the province as they urge albertans to test their homes for radon gas.
The “evict radon” campaign launched Tuesday calls on provincial residents to have their homes tested for the carcinogen, both to improve safety and bolster data collection.
aaron Goodarzi and his team at the Cumming school of medicine released a study earlier this year that found one in eight Calgary homes tested exceeded Health Canada’s acceptable radon levels, with the situation 30 percent more likely to occur in homes built in the past 25 years.
now the research is being expanded to the rest of the province.
“The geology of alberta is such that the majority of where everybody is living has a huge radon potential, meaning the naturally occurring minerals in the ground are generating radon throughout the whole province,” Goodarzi, assistant professor in the departments of biochemistry and molecular biology and oncology, said in an interview Tuesday.
radon is an odourless, colourless and tasteless element produced by the radioactive decay of underground uranium minerals that can be drawn up and concentrated inside buildings. It is the second highest cause of lung cancer, and exposure causes the deaths of about 3,200 Canadians a year, according to Lung Cancer Canada.
The evict radon campaign — which is open to residents across the province, including Calgary — sees albertans purchase a radon testing kit through the U of C at a cost of $60. Participants take part in a survey to provide information about their homes and the results of the test are shared confidentially with the researchers.
Goodarzi said the campaign is also emphasizing in particular the need for testing of homes with young children, who are most vulnerable to the impact of radon.