1 in 3 Sask. homes have dangerous levels of radon gas, national study finds
SASKATOON -- Saskatchewan and Alberta are among the second largest populations exposed to radon gas on the planet, according to a new national study.
The research, done in part with the help of the Lung Association of Saskatchewan, shows one in three homes in the province have dangerously high levels of radon. In Regina, that number is one in two houses.
Kerri Tucker, a mother of three, was diagnosed with lung cancer last year – and her doctor suspects it was caused by long-term exposure to radon in one of her childhood homes in Saskatoon.
“It was shocking because I never smoked a day in my life,” she said.
Her father, Ken Mossing, said he never expected to hear news like that.
“Terrible shock. Thought, one of our healthiest kids,” he said.
Radon gas is colourless, odorless and tasteless. It’s formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in all soil and rock.
It can seep into a home through cracks and openings without being suspected.
Jill Hubick, a registered nurse with the Lung Association, said radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
"Often we don't see the symptoms until many years later and unfortunately with lung cancer, when there are symptoms, it's usually at a late stage of the disease. So, it's much easier to prevent lung cancer than it is to fight it,” she said.
It’s why the Lung Association offers radon test kits to the public and is teaming up with Tucker to encourage people to get their homes tested.
If high levels are detected, Hubick said homeowners can hire private companies to install a radon mitigation system that helps to filter the gas out of a home.
Since learning of her diagnosis, Tucker and her family have tested their homes for radon gas – a small but important step she feels is worth the effort.
She said she will continue to share her story in hopes of saving others from a devastating diagnosis.
"It feels really good and it's nice to be proactive and do something with my story."