Nova Scotians worried they may have an invisible, scentless radioactive gas in their home can now get help at the local public library.

Radon gas is responsible for about 16 per cent of lung cancer cases, according to the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, and the only way to discover unsafe levels is to use a detector. 

Libraries across the province will now lend people radon detectors so they can check their homes. There are 20 Corentium Home detectors now and plans to have 50 in circulation by December. They are lent for six weeks at a time.

Kits are available for long-term and short-term testing. Long-term tests take three months, while short-term tests take a matter of days. Health Canada recommends homeowners use the long-term kits. 

Gas seeps through earthen floors and cracks

The lung association sells them for $40. The average cost to reduce radon levels in the home is $1,500 to $3,000, the provincial government said. 

The Department of Natural Resources created an online map showing the risk levels in different parts of the province. 

The provincial government says radon is slowly released from soil, rock and water, and also some building materials that contain small amounts of uranium, such as concrete, bricks, tiles and Gyproc. 

People cannot see, smell or taste radon, which is naturally occurring and seeps into homes through earthen floors or openings around pipes or cracks on the lower level.

The current Canadian guideline for radon in indoor air for dwellings is 200 Becquerels per cubic metre.

with files from Yvonne Colbert