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Keeping families safe from the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer

Radon gas can be found in hazardous quantities in homes across 95% of Canada’s health regions. As the second leading cause of lung cancer, it’s important to talk to your patients about having their homes tested for radon - and to be able to answer their questions.

A common concern among patients is how radon exposure might affect their families. In 2013, Health Canada conducted a study looking at the effects of childhood exposure to radon. They found that exposure during childhood increases the risk of developing lung cancer; specifically, if a child lives in a home with high radon concentrations (8,000 Bq/m3) for only two years, it has the equivalent effect as a lifetime of exposure in a home with moderate radon levels (200 Bq/m3).¹ This evidence supports the Canadian Radon Guideline, recommending that the higher the radon levels, the sooner remedial measures should be taken.

 Price of radon remedial renovations got your patients feeling ill?

While reducing the risk of radon exposure is a priceless undertaking, the costs of remedial renovations can range from $1,500 - $3,000. To help with these costs, Health Canada is holding a Radon Reduction Sweepstakes; all persons who have taken steps to mitigate radon in their homes in the past five years have a chance to win $1,000.

How can you help prevent radon-related cancers?

Health professionals should discuss the risks of radon exposure with their patients and encourage at-home testing. To learn more about radon, we’ve developed a course that is based upon Health Canada’s national radon awareness program. This free, certified course outlines how exposure to high-levels of radon can affect patients, giving you the answers to the questions that your patients may have regarding radon and how it presents a hazard to their health.

Explore our radon program today for our free certified course and associated resources.

1 Chen, J. Canadian Lung Cancer Relative Risk from Radon Exposure for Short Periods in Childhood Compared to a Lifetime. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [serial online]. Published May 2013.  Available at: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/5/1916/htm. Accessed October 25, 2017.

  • This is a very interesting and important topic! I was wondering about the risk of exposure in public places such as schools, daycares, workplaces, offices,… that our children and families spend 8 or more hours per day there! It sounds like more public health measures/regulations regarding mandatory testing for radon in such places are necessary to be implemented.  As much as we try to protect families by encouraging them to do testing at their homes, they may get the hazardous exposure simply at school or their workplace on a daily basis.

  • Very good point, re: exposure risk in schools, daycares, workplaces. I will check with my Health Canada colleagues, but I believe many provinces are actively making progress with respect to testing many of these public spaces. I believe it is mandatory in Quebec; but several other provinces have an approach or strategy to test schools, for example. Of course, testing is only the first step, and good education and communication, as well as a plan for remediation, should also be put into place.

    I think I remember seeing a stat that currently only about 6% of Canadian homeowners have actually tested for the gas.  I'm not sure what percentage of schools, daycares, or workplaces in general have tested for radon.