November 4, 2015 - The Health Unit reports that the proportion of homes with elevated radon in Thunder Bay is more than three times the provincial average. Findings of a radon prevalence study for Thunder Bay conducted by the Health Unit from 2014 to 2015 indicate that 16% of the 468 homes tested for radon exceed the Canadian guideline for radon indoor air quality. The provincial average is 4.6% (Health Canada’s 2012 Cross-Canada Survey of Radon Concentrations in Homes). The radon prevalence report was released today as part of Radon Action Month in Canada.
A breakdown of the city-wide results shows that McIntyre ward had the highest proportion of homes with elevated radon at 43%, followed by Neebing ward with 30%, and Red River and Current River wards with 15% and 14%, respectively. A map outlining the prevalence in each ward can be found in the report.
The Health Unit cautions that the type of study conducted does not allow conclusions to be drawn to explain differences between wards. The reasons for high radon in homes are complex and location is only one factor.
The present study was conducted in the City of Thunder Bay. The Health Unit is assessing the feasibility of conducting a similar study in the rest of the District.
Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer with long-term exposure. The only way to know if your home has an elevated level of radon is to test for it.
The Health Unit recommends:
- Test your home for radon. Radon test kits are available at EcoSuperior and hardware stores throughout the city and District.
- Reduce radon concentrations in your home to a level you are willing to accept. Radon mitigation can be done by the homeowner, or by a certified professional.
- Smokers who are also exposed to radon are at greatly increased risk for lung cancer. If you smoke, the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to quit smoking. For help quitting call the Canadian Cancer Society’s Smoker’s Helpline at 1-877-513-3333.
These messages will be reinforced throughout the month of November by the Health Unit and other community partners including EcoSuperior and the Canadian Cancer Society. EcoSuperior will also be holding public workshops about radon this month.
The Health Unit would also like to acknowledge the City of Thunder Bay for implementing radon prevention measures for new homes under the Ontario Building Code, as well as local businesses that are now offering certified radon testing and mitigation services.
For reliable information on radon, the public is encouraged to visit the website takeactiononradon.ca.