Did you know that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause in smokers?
As third year nursing students, we were shocked to find out how much of an impact radon has on lung health as well as the prevalence of radon in Canada. With November being Radon Action Month, we feel it is important to address the lack of awareness around what radon is and its effects on one’s lung health.
Radon is a colourless, tasteless, odorless and lethal gas that accumulates in the lower levels of homes.
You would never know it is present in your home unless you tested for it.
October to April is the best time to test.
Testing is relatively inexpensive and can be done by either you or a professional. Do-it-yourself radon test kits can be purchased over the phone or Internet and are available at some home improvement retailers across Canada.
There is no known level of safe exposure to radon; however, Health Canada recommends homeowners take action if radon levels are 200 Bq/m3 or above. The risk of developing lung cancer depends on the amount and duration of radon exposure, as well as whether or not you smoke.
We realize it is impossible to expect people to take any action to protect themselves against the harmful effects of radon if they don’t know what it is or the importance of it. As students we are working to raise awareness of radon in the Interior and Kootenay regions, two areas with high radon potential.
Please, protect your loved ones from the harmful effects of radon by testing your home and ensuring you also do your part in raising awareness. To learn more, visit www.cancer.ca.
Courtney Pankow and Jackie Girard, Third Year Nursing Students, University of British Columbia- Okanagan