November is Radon Awareness Month. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium found in rocks and soil, and has been noted in houses in the Kingston area.
Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health is encouraging all residents to test their homes for radon. The gas can enter buildings through cracks in foundation floors and walls, gaps in pipes, open floor drains, or any other area of exposed soil, according to a release from Public Health.
In confined spaces like a home, Public Health said that radon can build up to high levels becoming a health risk. The likelihood of high radon cannot be predicted by the age or location of a home; all homes are at risk, the agency stated.
“Results collected from KFL&A Public Health’s Radon Testing Study in 2019 showed that over 20 per cent of homes had radon levels above Health Canada’s guideline,” said Erin Hayes, Public Health Promoter at KFL&A Public Health. “The only way to know the radon level in your home is to test for it.”
The Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) is now loaning 55 Corentium Home radon detectors in partnership with KFL&A Public Health, allowing residents of Kingston and Frontenac, homeowners and renters, the opportunity to test radon levels. KFPL’s radon detection kits, as a screening tool, give patrons an approximate idea of the radon levels in their homes, the library said.
Breathing in high levels of radon for many years can lead to lung cancer, according to Public Health. In Canada, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The best time to test your home for radon is during the winter months when windows and doors remain closed. Radon testing is simple, inexpensive, and now free for KFPL patrons.
“Radon is dangerous in high quantities, but undetectable without proper testing,” explained Graeme Langdon, Manager, Branches and Collections. “KFPL is happy to partner with KFL&A Public Health to provide free access to this preliminary screening tool.”
The library said there are 55 radon detection kits available to loan from October to March when household radon levels are highest. Kits are available at all KFPL branches and are free to borrow for three-week periods plus renewals if available.
Library patrons can learn more about our radon detection kit lending program at https://www.kfpl.ca/library-services/detectors-meters
To learn more about radon, visit kflaph.ca/radon.