TORONTO – Health Canada is urging Canadians to test their homes for radon, a leading cause of lung cancer.
After smoking, exposure to radon is the second leading cause of the often deadly disease.
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the ground and can leak into homes through foundation cracks or gaps around pipes.
It cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, but there are inexpensive and easy tests sold by most hardware stores that can measure radon levels.
Health Canada suggests testing for a minimum of three months starting in the fall, when windows and doors of a home are typically closed.
It is estimated that 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths in Canada are caused by indoor radon exposure.
“Canadians are at higher risk of getting lung cancer if radon gas is present in their homes and if they smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke,” Mary-Pat Shaw, acting CEO and president of the Canadian Lung Association, said in a statement issued by Health Canada.
A survey conducted for the Lung Association and released Thursday showed that only one per cent of Canadians are aware of the fact that radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
That result is drawn from an online survey of 1,600 adults conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights. The poll was conducted between Sept. 12-18 among adults at least 18 years of age and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.