Radon levels unacceptable in 25% of N.B. homes
One of the highest radon levels in the country was found in Bas-Paquetville
According to information released by Health Canada tests, one-quarter of the homes in New Brunswick have unacceptable radon levels.
One of the highest in the country was found in Bas-Paquetville, 40 minutes east of Bathurst.
Radon, odourless and colourless, is a radioactive gas naturally emitted from the earth through the breakdown of uranium in soil. It enters your home by seeping in through cracks, pipes, windows and the foundation of your house.
CBC News obtained data showing the results of approximately 14,000 radon tests in homes across the country.
Health Canada says radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, killing around 3000 Canadians a year.
The lung association began encouraging people to test their homes for radon.
But even though Health Canada is increasing its education about radon, Andrew Colter - who does radon mitigation in New Brunswick homes - says he's not getting many calls.
Colter heard the ad, tested his house, and found high levels. But no one knew what to do. So he went to the U.S. to get certified, and fixed it himself.
He is now one of three certified radon mitigators in the province, but he makes his living as a builder.
In his new homes, he runs pipe and gravel under the basement, with a plastic barrier over the top. A passive system that reduces radon gas from getting into the house.
He said it adds about $500 to the cost of the build.
“Which gives you the ability to reduce your radon down to 52 per cent without doing anything to your house,” he said.
It is possible to test for radon by placing a passive radon-testing device in a basement and then sending the device to a lab for analysis.
Building inspectors who approved Andrew Colter's homes acknowledged there was nothing in the building code that requires new homes to have a radon mitigation system.
The 2010 National Building Code of Canada which will be enforced starting in January 2015 will require designers and engineers to consider radon protection in their designs. The new code will require a radon mitigation system be roughed in.
But Colter says for now, many people just don't want to know.