Results from a campaign to test radon levels in Valemount and McBride are back and tests show that 10% of homes in Valemount and 17% in McBride reported levels higher than 200 becquerels per cubic metre.
That measurement, becquerels per cubic metre, is a measure of radioactivity and 200 becquerels per cubic metre is the limit outlined by Health Canada. Anything above that indicates something should be done to mitigate radon levels.
In a letter to the village councils, Pam Warkentin urged both councils to continue playing a role in raising awareness about radon.
“Many Canadians still don’t know that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and that simply reducing radon exposure can save lives,” said Warkentin. “We commend the villages for their leadership in bringing attention to this cancer-causing gas and helping its residents test their homes.”
Warkentin said that long-term exposure to high levels of radon damages the DNA in lung tissue and is currently leading to over 3,000 Canadian deaths each year – more than the combined toll of car collisions, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and drowning combined.
If the radon level is high (above 200 Bq/m3), homeowners should take action to reduce it by consulting a certified radon reduction specialist.