Radon alert

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - JAMES WOOD

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.

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