Municipalities are in a unique position to be able to connect with their residents and help them become informed on radon.
Here are some suggestions on how municipalities can take action on radon:
Share information with residents.
- Include a link to www.TakeActionOnRadon.ca on your municipal website. Our website offers a list of all certified retailers who provide radon test kits.
- Share the community report in your municipal newsletter, website or social channels.
- Include (free) information about radon at your building department offices and libraries.
- Educate building department officials to help answer questions.
Make long-term radon testing easily accessible.
- Consider bulk-purchasing or selling radon test kits as a municipality. Municipalities can promote testing with building permits and year-end collections. In selling test kits independently, municipalities would be able to collect data to inform building codes.
- Take Action on Radon can help you through our 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge by providing your with a testing tool kit or by providing 100 free radon tests. See more information here.
Make it easier for homeowners to reduce high radon.
- Consider an incentive program to help residents reduce high radon levels. There are existing programs operating successfully.
Be a good example as a Municipality.
- Consider testing your own home and encourage your staff to do the same.
- Consider testing municipal owned public buildings.
- Provide education materials to staff, especially those who may have to answer questions about radon such as building maintenance staff, building permit staff, public inquiry lines.
Changing Building Codes:
The National Building Code includes radon control measures, but it is up to each province to adopt the code. Currently most provinces across Canada have included some building code measures that will control radon entry and assist in its removal, if radon testing shows it is necessary.
Municipalities can take steps to ensure builders are familiar with why and how these measures are included and ensure they are following best practices with education of builders and ensuring building officials are monitoring during the permitting process. In some areas, municipalities can make changes to their local building codes to add measures including a radon passive pipe to provide additional methods to help with mitigation of radon, when necessary.
Reducing radon levels is the ultimate step in reducing risk from radon. Radon Mitigation grants will help encourage and assist homeowners in taking the next step after they have recognized that they have high levels.
Helping residents become aware of radon by providing information is a simple task and often the first step a municipality can take. Information can be shared at a Municipal Office, Library, or Health Care Offices. Take Action on Radon provides downloadable resources that can be used.
Awareness sessions are a great opportunity to help residents connect with the information and ask questions. Municipalities can host a radon awareness night and invite local radon experts to help answer any questions their residents have as they process the information presented.
Social Media is a powerful tool municipalities can use to raise radon awareness. Municipalities are welcome to get started by sharing Take Action on Radon’s twitter and facebook posts. These can easily be found by searching on #Today4Tomorrow or @actiononradon
Library kits can be easy ways to promote radon by hanging a poster on a community bulletin board and handing out bookmarks. Contact us and let us know how many and to what address and we can ship you a Library Radon Information Package.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is released by the breakdown of uranium in the soil. It is odourless, tasteless, and colourless, and can enter buildings and enclosed spaces undetected. Since Canadian homes are sealed against the weather, radon can become trapped indoors, building up to dangerous levels. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon damages the DNA in our lung tissue and is currently leading to over 3,000 Canadian deaths each year – more than car collisions, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and drowning combined.
Compared to national adoption rates of safety devices like seat-belts and smoke detectors, the adoption rates for testing for radon remain low.2 A recent study commissioned by Health Canada found that only 6% of Canadians have tested their home for radon.3
The Government of Canada is committed to reducing the number of radon-induced cancer deaths in this country by working with their partners, stakeholders and community leaders to promote awareness and to encourage more Canadians to take action against radon by having their homes tested.