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Radon testing drive seeks to uncover dangerous household levels around New Brunswick town

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Residents of St. Andrews, N.B. have been called upon to participate in a town-wide radon testing drive this week.

Up to 400 radon testing kits will be available for pick-up at no cost between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the town’s W.C. O’Neill Arena. NB Lung will also host a local information session on radon testing between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Melanie Langille, executive director of NB Lung, says St. Andrews was chosen as the location for this Health Canada sponsored drive due to a lack of high-density testing information from the area.

New Brunswick’s geology is made up of bedrock high in uranium, which releases radon gas — something you can’t see, smell, or taste.

According to NB Lung, one in four New Brunswick homes have dangerous levels of radon. The province also has one of Canada’s highest rates of lung cancer. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

NB Lung carried out a similar testing drive in Havelock, N.B. last fall, after a local woman shared her story about a lung cancer diagnosis connected to undetected radon in the home.

There’s been a marked increase in demand for radon testing kits since Angela Stief Lea went public with her experience to raise awareness.

“We would sell 300 or 400 (test kits) in the run of a year, but we’ve sold more than that in just this calendar year already,” says Langille.

If unsafe levels of radon are detected inside a home, Langille says repairs generally involve the installation of a fan or pipes beneath a foundation slab to ventilate the gas.

“It’s not a major renovation,” says Langille. “It’s a small repair that can significantly reduce the levels of radon in as little as 24 hours.”

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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