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Canadians Urged to Renovate Houses to Check Radon Gas Radiation

, but says new research showing a stronger link to lung cancer has prompted the change to 200, with support of the provinces and territories.

Officials estimate that people spending 75 per cent of a lifetime (of 70 years) inside a home with a main floor radon concentration of 800 becquerels have a one-in-10 chance of developing lung cancer from radon gas.

A comprehensive scientific study, published in Epidemiology in 2005 and entitled Residential Radon and Risk of Lung Cancer, found "direct evidence of an association between residential radon exposure and lung cancer."

The study examined radon studies in regions as widespread as North America, Europe and China, and incorporated the results of lab research, including experiments on animals, and studies of underground miners.

Individuals who test for radon and remediate their homes, however, can relatively easily reduce the risk to acceptable levels.

Canadians living in known radon hot spots, especially those with porous soils, are urged to test for radon gas and take remedial action on their homes as necessary to reduce the risk.

Radon test kits are available on the Internet for less than $50 and are completed over three to six months during winter, when doors and windows are closed and radon levels are highest.

Remediation options, costing from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, include sealing cracks in concrete floor slabs, fitting airtight covers on sumps, installing special traps in basement drains, covering over exposed soils, and installing a ventilation system to move the radon outdoors.

A National Research Council report for the Environmental Protection Agency said that while eliminating all radon is not feasible, an estimated one-third of radon-induced lung cancers could be avoided if homes met the guideline of 150 becquerels.

Some suggest not nearly enough has been done in Canada to reduce the radon ris
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