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3 radon detectors - Image: Health Canada

High radon homes need financial support: NB Lung

By Regis Phillips Apr 26, 2024 | 2:29 PM

Lung health charity NB Lung is urging the provincial government to provide financial support for New Brunswickers living with naturally occurring radon gas.

Radon is an orderless, tasteless, and invisible radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and becomes diluted when released into the air. However, it can accumulate to high levels in enclosed spaces like homes, and become a health hazard.

Testing and repairing homes with high levels is simple and effective, but officials say costs are simply out of reach financially for many and are pushing for better support for homeowners. New Brunswick is the only province in Canada with zero government financial support.

President and CEO Melanie Langille, says it’s no one’s fault that unsafe radon exists in too many New Brunswick homes, but the time for government to help individuals repair their homes is now.

“Radon is radioactive. When it is breathed in, the radioactivity causes physical damage to the lungs which can lead to lung cancer. Lung cancer caused by radon is preventable,” said Langille.

Radon gas is naturally occurring and is in all homes in Canada at varying levels, but NB Lung says New Brunswick has some of the highest rates in Canada due to our geology. The province also has the highest rate of lung cancer in all of Canada.

An average radon testing kit is $60. Health Canada says repairs typically cost around $2,000 to $3,000 and can reduce radon levels by more than 80 per cent.

By comparison, the average cost to treat lung cancer is approximately $70,000 per patient every year of treatment.