News / Halifax

Radon-gas detection kits being offered up at libraries in Nova Scotia

More than 20 are now available for free at the Halifax Central Library, with more to come.

A radon-gas detecting test is shown.

Meagan Casalino / For Metro Halifax

A radon-gas detecting test is shown.

The Lung Association of Nova Scotia has teamed up with the provincial and federal government to provide residents with access to free radon-gas detection kits through the province's public libraries during the Radon Awareness Month.

Announced Wednesday at the Halifax Central Library, 20 radon detection kits are now available to the public at libraries across the province and 30 more will be added by the end of the month. Residents will be able to borrow these kits without cost to regularly test their homes.

Chief Medical Officer of Health for Nova Scotia, Dr. Robert Strang, stressed the importance of testing as long-term radon exposure is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in Canada.

The Department of Natural Resources released a heat map of high-risk areas of levels over 200 BQ/M3, but Strang said everyone is at risk and this is preventable.

“You could have one home with a low-level reading and the home right beside it with high-level reading,” he said.

Strang said the province is taking precautions by testing schools, hospitals and other government buildings since the revision of guidelines for radon levels in 2007.

“It’s as easy as borrowing a book,” said Bill Horne from the Department of Natural Resources. “Its another way to have access to the kits for public safety”

Horne said kits regularly go for $250 - or $40 for a disposable kit. He said he believes the free kits will give everyone a reason to test their households.

The department has donated $20,000 to help provide kits across Nova Scotia.

Robert Macdonald, president and CEO of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, said this is the first public-access system across Canada.

“Radon can easily enter any home undetected in cracks, gap in the floor, foundation walls, windows and doors,” said Lance Richardson-Prager, regional radiation specialist in for Health Canada.

Radon gas is undetectable it doesn’t have a scent, taste or colour, he said. “The only way to know if it is a problem is to measure it.”

Thanks to the program, up to 250 households can be tested every year thanks to the new program, he said.

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