After living in the same house for 12 years in Prince George, BC, Susanne Williamson and her family moved to a different home. First thing she did? Tested for radon.
As a mother of two young boys, Susanne knew it was important to find out what her house's radon levels were. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and the first leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Prince George was the site of British Columbia's largest community-wide radon testing study coordinated by the BC Lung Association, where overall, 1 in 3 homes tested above the Health Canada safety guideline.
Armed with this information, Susanne purchased a radon test kit from the BC Lung Association's RadonAware program and tested last winter. Not surprisingly, Susanne's radon levels were above the Health Canada safety guideline; meaning mitigation in her home was needed as soon as possible.
“I wasn’t too shocked to learn that my home’s radon level was unsafe," says Williamson. The mom of two young boys described how radon has been in the news, and more people are talking about it. “I was completely prepared for a possible high level, and the need for mitigation."
Knowing that she had an unsafe level of radon in the home, Williamson contacted a local certified radon mitigation professional and had a radon reduction system installed. "The entire process took about a day," continues Williamson. "It was very straightforward and was effective at reducing my home's radon levels. Of course, I'll need to do a 3-month follow-up test to confirm the mitigation was effective long term, but initial short term testing indicates my family is now safe."
When asked if the testing and mitigation process was worth it, Williamson says, “Absolutely! I now have complete peace of mind that the air my two young boys are breathing is safe, and that is what matters most. I hope that other families in the community will test, and mitigate if necessary.”
Britt Swoveland, RadonAware manager for the BC Lung Association said even though people are aware of radon in Prince George, not everyone is testing. “We still aren’t seeing the kind of action that we would hope to see in response to what is a very serious and completely preventable disease. About 100 homes voluntarily tested for radon this winter, and similar to the community-wide study of 2015, about 1 in 3 homes overall were above the Health Canada safety guideline.”
Prince George is one of about 80 BC communities where elevated indoor radon levels have been reported to the BC Lung Association. To learn more about radon and to purchase a test kit, visit radonaware.ca.