Higher-than-recommended levels of radon gas have been found in more than a third of the houses tested earlier this year, Regina health officials say.

As a result, the Regina-Qu'Appelle Health Region was urging people on Tuesday to have their homes tested for naturally occurring radioactive gas.

In the past three months, the health region conducted indoor air quality tests on 106 homes in the city and found 38 of them— 35 per cent— with levels of the gas above the new federal standard.

The homes were selected randomly for testing.

Until recently, the federal limit was 800 becquerels of radiation per cubic metre. However, on June 9, the federal government changed the radon guideline to 200 becquerels per cubic metre to put it in line with European standards.

Long-term exposure to radon gas has been linked to lung cancer.

"It's not an immediate impact, it's something that happens over the years," said health region spokeswoman Yvonne Graff. "Depending on how high the level is in your home, how long you live in that home, [the gas] will have an impact on your health."

Radon can seep into homes through cracks in the foundation.

The health district is providing a list of companies that provide radon testing.

If the levels are high, there are a number of steps that can be taken, including:

  • Increasing basement ventilation.
  • Sealing cracks and openings in walls and floors and around pipes and drains.
  • Ventilating the basement subfloor by installing a small pump to suck the radon out.
  • Installing flooring, where the basement floor is dirt.

The health region recommends that people test for radon in the winter, when the concentrations tend to be higher.