For Terry Marshall and her family, their home was the long-standing bedrock of their lives.
Little did they know that a cancer-causing radioactive gas called radon was lurking under areas of Revelstoke.
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.
“It’s so surprising. We’ve lived in our home for almost 40 years and we didn’t know all that time that it had high levels of radon,” says Marshall after testing to find they had high levels in their home.
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 $1,000 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’d heard of it before but I wasn’t really aware that in our area of town in particular, there was a belt of it. Luckily, my workplace held a seminar from Health Canada and I bought a test right away,” remarks Marshall. “We did proceed with the mitigation. It’s a little bit messy having it done in a home that is not a new building, but the way that it was done was very professional and caused us the least amount of inconvenience.”
Canada has a national certification program – the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program - 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 $2,900.
The contest incentive seems to be working – the Sweepstakes received almost 400 entries this year from across the country.
Marshall has some words of advice for Canadian homeowners: “Testing kits are easy and convenient, not hard at all. I would say that if you’re lucky enough to learn about radon like I was, get your home tested.”
Have you tested your home for radon within the past five years? Head to takeactiononradon.ca to find radon test kit suppliers and additional radon information, including how to enter the sweepstakes next year.