The Grey Bruce Health Unit is recommending winter radon testing for all homes to determine if you or your family is at risk of radon exposure.

Dr. Hazel Lynn, medical officer of health, said in a statement “Radon is a health concern for Canadians, but few homeowners understand the risk or how they can protect themselves and their family against it...Grey Bruce Health Unit is joining other public health units in a collaborative awareness campaign to help people better understand this issue.”

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas given off from the breakdown of uranium found in rocks and soil and can enter buildings through cracks in foundation floors and walls, gaps in service pipes, open floor drains or any other area of exposed soil.

The highest concentrations are usually found in basements and lower levels of homes, and according to the health unit long-term exposure to high levels of radon increases your risk of developing lung cancer.

The risk from exposure depends on the level of radon, the length of exposure and a person’s smoking habits. Smoking combined with radon exposure greatly increases the risk of lung cancer.

The Grey Bruce Health Unit says a study by Health Canada found higher than recommended radon levels in homes tested throughout the country, which means the location or the age of a home doesn't predict risk of exposure.

However, testing for radon is inexpensive and easy, with test kits available for purchase at local retailers and online.

Health Canada recommends testing during the winter months in the lowest lived-in area of your home for a minimum of three months for accurate results.

Information about understanding test results and remediation if levels are above those recommended can be found on the Health Canada website

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