Testing reveals unsafe radon levels in Grand Forks homes

Grand Forks council received a presentation revealing radon levels in homes

Grand Forks city council received a presentation on radon levels in the community during a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, June 13.

Pam Warkentin and Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol discussed the benefits of a text kit program.

The 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge is a part of the Take Action on Radon program. The goal is to raise awareness around radon and make testing available.

The program has already distributed over 10,000 kits around Canada.

Radon is a gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. When radon become trapped in an indoor space such as as house, it can be harmful.

Warkentin said radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and also poses a risk to smokers.

Fifty-four detectors were distributed in Grand Forks, and 35 of them were used.

Forty-eight per cent of homes tested in Grand Forks were above the Canadian guideline for radon levels.

Participants were also given surveys to gather data on home types and their intention to mitigate.

The study also mapped the data in Grand Forks.

“There’s high levels and low levels right next door to each other, so there isn’t really any specific area that we would say is above guideline, all areas of the community really should be testing.” Warkentin said.

Warkentin advised council to encourage more people in the community to test radon levels in their homes.

“A couple of our suggestions are to establish annual awareness campaigns, and provide citizens with subsidized detectors, and possibly consider assisting with mitigation.”

Council decided to discuss the matter further at the next committee of the whole meeting.

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