The 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge targets municipalities across Canada where radon testing has been limited, but where there is a potential for homes to have elevated radon levels. Vernon is participating. (Image contributed)

The 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge targets municipalities across Canada where radon testing has been limited, but where there is a potential for homes to have elevated radon levels. Vernon is participating. (Image contributed)

Vernon takes on Radon Challenge

200 free radon testing kits are up for grabs as part of the third annual challenge to test for gas

Two hundred Vernon residents can get their hands on a free radon test to test for the odourless, tasteless and colourless gas in their homes.

The City of Vernon is inviting residents to register for a free radon test kit as part of the annual 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge, offered by the national health coalition Take Action on Radon.

The gas is identified as the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and with more and more people staying home this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and with winter just around the corner, it’s more important than ever to ensure the air at home is healthy.

“Our aim is to encourage our residents to be proactive when it comes to protecting themselves and their loved ones from radon exposure,” Chief Building Official Dan Gellein said in a statement issued Monday, Oct. 26.

“This is why we’re encouraging residents to register for a free radon test kit and take action against radon. It’s easy, effective and can save a life.”

“We are grateful for the generous support of Coldwell Banker Four Seasons Real Estate, here in Vernon, who sponsored 100 additional test kits for residents, meaning we have a total of 200 free test kits to distribute on a first-come, first-served basis,” Gellein said. “The kits will be available for residences that include single-family dwellings, duplexes and townhouses.”

Radon is a naturally occurring cancer-causing radioactive gas that can enter buildings and enclosed spaces undetected. Since Canadian homes are sealed against weather, the gas can become trapped indoors building up to dangerous levels.

Long-term exposure to high levels of radon can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer.

“The 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge just made it a lot easier for residents of Vernon to test for radon,” said Pam Warkentin, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists and Project Manager at Take Action on Radon.

“Now in its third year, the program has spurred more than 2,000 Canadians to test their homes for radon, an important first step towards protecting themselves and their families from the risk of lung cancer.”

Testing for it is the only way homeowners can determine the levels as they vary between neighbouring houses.

“Radon is a well-established human carcinogen and testing and reducing radon levels is an important method of prevention of lung cancer,” said Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol, a researcher from the Faculty of Sciences from Simon Fraser University. “Residential radon is marked as Canadians’ primary exposure of radon, preventing radon exposure will reduce the number of Canadians dying of lung cancer.”

Interested residents can register online at engagevernon.ca or by calling 250-550-3634.

An online webinar Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. will provide registered participants with more details about the testing process before receiving the kit.

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