Researchers look for cancer-causing gas in Makkovik

Researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland will be in a northern Labrador town on Monday to look for radon gas.
Homes in Makkovik, Labrador will be tested for traces of radon gas. (CBC)

Researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland will be in a northern Labrador town on Monday to look for radon gas.

Radon, a colourless and odourless gas, is emitted from decaying uranium, and since there is a lot of uranium in Makkovik, some people are concerned for their health.

Atanu Sarkar, a public health doctor who teaches at Memorial University's school of medicine, said people have a right to be concerned, because high levels of the invisible gas can lead to lung cancer, especially among smokers.

"So those houses having very high level of radon gas, the people might develop lung cancer in the long term," Sarkar said.

"And also it is true, those houses having [people] smoking, have a [greater] chance of developing lung cancer because of a double barrel of contamination."

Past mining explorations near Makkovik, Sarkar said,  is one of the main reasons why researchers have decided to look for traces of radon gas in that community.

Sarkar said about 30 of the houses in the community will be part of the study. 
    
Radon detectors are being placed in homes to test the gas levels, and results should be known in late January or early February.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.