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CBS trying to get a handle on how much radon is out there

By Craig Westcott

CBS councillor Rex Hillier is asking everyone who agreed to participate in a study on the prevalence of radon in town to get their testing kits back to council as soon as possible, so that the results can be tabulated.

“About two and a half months ago, I encouraged people to sign up for radon test kits so that we could take them home,” said Hillier. 

He noted they were little black contraptions that could lay down and forget about.

“Until this week,” he added. “It’s time to return them. So, for those who have them, in order for us to get a cross-section of the town and what radon levels look like in our town, and for people to get individual results for their homes, they need to return them.”

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, radon “comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation.”

It’s rare for a home to have radon, especially too much of it. The problem is that radon has no colour, odour or taste, so you don’t know it’s there unless you test for it.

According to National Radon Defense, an industry group of radon testing companies in the United States, symptoms of too much radon could include a persistent cough, hoarseness, wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, chest pain, frequent infections like bronchitis and pneumonia, as well as a loss of appetite.

“Opening windows can help dilute radon levels within a building in the short term to some degree, however as soon as the windows are closed, indoor concentrations will quickly accumulate to the levels they were previously,” according to the group. “It is unlikely to be practical to leave windows open 24/7 for security and climate reasons.”

You can reduce the amount of radon seeping into your house by sealing off openings between the foundation and the ground.

Hillier said the test kits can be put in an envelope and dropped off at the Town Hall. There is also an after hours drop off box right outside the main door of the building.

“Right now, I believe, we’ve got 40 back of the 149 that were sent out,” said the councillor. “So, we’re well on our way.”

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