University of Calgary researchers testing their own homes in search of radon, Results will be used to spur larger look at cancer-causing gas

Calgary researchers testing their own homes in search of radon, Results will be used to spur larger look at cancer-causing gas by Jamie Komarnicki, January 21, 2014, Calgary Herald
Photograph by: Peter Lawrence, Radiation Safety Institute of Canada
A team of Calgary cancer researchers is set to find out if colourless, odourless, radioactive radon has seeped inside their own homes. Then, the team hopes to build on the data they collect and apply for a large-scale study mapping the prevalence of the cancer-causing gas across the province. Aaron Goodarzi, a member of the University of Calgary’s Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute that is spearheading the effort, said the relative low profile of radon belies how dangerous it can be — it’s the No. 1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and the second leading cause of the disease among people who smoke. “It’s kind of an invisible problem, but one we feel passionate about because many of us work on lung cancer and we get a lot of patients who’ve never smoked a day in their lives and they ask, ‘Why on earth do I have cancer?’” Goodarzi said. “If they’re not a smoker, it’s a very, very good chance that it’s due to radon gas.”

To bring more attention to radon, Goodarzi helped recruit about 50 cancer researchers and doctors to test their homes this month, using kits from a certified company recommended by Health Canada. Radon is a naturally occurring gas produced from the natural radioactive decay of uranium in rocks and soil, said Kristin Matthews of the Lung Association, Alberta and Northwest Territories. “It can build up to high and toxic levels in your home, particularly in the lowest levels of your home,” she said. Homes in cold climates are considered particularly at risk, considering upwards of half a year is spent with the windows closed due to wintry weather, and houses are well insulated with little air circulation, said Goodarzi. A simple home fix — the equivalent of a gas sump pump to exchange the air — can deal with a radon problem, he noted. According to Goodarzi, the data collected from the homes of Calgary researchers will form the base of a larger project he plans to apply for to map household radon levels across Alberta to figure out which communities are most at risk. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

Radon — #9 In “Top 10 Toxic Ingredients Used By The Fossil Fuel Industries”; Cochrane Alberta home tests high for radon

Cochrane Alberta home tests high for radon To learn more about radon, visit
To reach Renata MacQueen, visit

Radon gas leaks in coalbed methane fields in Australia spark call for probe

A 2013 peer-reviewed study found correlation between coalbed methane (CBM) wells and radon concentrations in the atmosphere and that radon “may be useful in monitoring enhanced soil gas fluxes to the atmosphere due to changes in the geological structure associated with wells and hydraulic fracturing in [CBM] fields.”….CBM requires five to ten times more fracturing than conventional natural gas wells. In: Brief review of threats to Canada’s groundwater from the oil and gas industry’s methane migration and hydraulic fracturing ]

Silent killer: Health Canada urges testing homes for cancer-causing radon

Radon threats are grounds for precaution

2013 Radon and fracking Larysa Dyrszka MD

2013 Radon and fracking High Risk areas in USA Larysa Dyrszka MD

Slides above by Larysa Dyrszka MD, September 2013 ]

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