THUNDER BAY – “I was reading all about it on the Internet and decided to get myself a test,” says Thunder Bay resident Ron Wychopen. He was fortunate to come upon information about the dangers of radon, but not all Canadians are as lucky. A naturally occurring gas responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 Canadians a year, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and amounts to more deaths annually than car collisions, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and drowning combined.
“The test I ordered came with an app and after a few days, you could get the reading right on your phone. I was actually surprised at how high ours was. I didn’t expect that at all,” says Ron after testing to find they had higher-than-normal levels in their home. “I decided to get a hold of a local contractor right away and get a system installed.” With no colour or smell, the only way to know if radon is a problem in your home is to test. If that test comes back high, it’s time to consult a certified professional to help lower your levels with a mitigation system.
This year marks the second annual drawing of the Radon Reduction Sweepstakes – an initiative that seeks to motivate Canadians to lower their radon levels by offering $1000 individual cash prizes for those who have mitigated their homes for this dangerous gas. For 10 lucky Canadians, Taking Action on Radon has really paid off.
“The cost of a radon mitigation system can be a stumbling block for many Canadians,” says Pam Warkentin, Project Manager of the Take Action on Radon program “We wanted to encourage homeowners to reduce their lung cancer risk by offering a cash incentive for lowering their radon levels”.
According to Health Canada, over 1 million Canadian homes have high radon levels.
“I would advise Canadians not to wait. Get your home tested, especially if you’re spending a lot of time using the lower levels of the home,” said Ron.
Canada has a national certification program – the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP) – that trains radon professionals to design and install systems that will safely and efficiently lower the radon level in your home. The cost of a system varies, but between 2013 and 2018 the average cost was $2,9002.
The incentive seems to be working – the Sweepstakes received almost 400 entries this year from across the country. Ron has some words of advice for Canadian homeowners: “It was pretty easy. Mine tested quite high but my neighbours might not get a reading at all. It’s worth the investment for the peace of mind.”
For more information about radon, including how to enter the Sweepstakes next year, head to www.takeactiononradon.ca.
Take Action on Radon is a national initiative to bring together stakeholders and raise awareness on radon across Canada. The current advisory team is made up of the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST), CAREX Canada, and the Canadian Cancer Society.