You’ve heard of carbon monoxide poisoning, but did you know that radon gas could also be present in your home?
The Ponoka Jubilee Library (PJL) now has access to radon screening kits through Parkland Regional Library (PRL), and library users can sign out the kits to test the levels in their homes.
They will not be on hand at PJL, but patrons can request them at checkout, according to PJL manager Dan Galway.
“The introduction of these types of items into Library circulation is encouraging users to see beyond the library as simply a book repository,” said Galway.
“We certainly appreciate that PRL are seeking to expand our collections to include this type of technology,” he said.
PJL is pleased to carry useful items such as radon scanners as it allows library users to benefit from the technology without having to purchase it themselves, says Galway.
Digital radon scanners go for over two hundred dollars according to The Lung Association’s website, tla-radon.com.
Parkland Regional Libraries (PRL) has partnered with the Alberta Lung Association, with support from Health Canada, to launch the initiative. As of Jan. 8, 2020, there are 18 screening kits in circulation for the region.
“Radon gas is common throughout Canada and can pose a serious health threat in high concentrations. We are very pleased to partner with the Alberta Lung Association to provide these kits to our libraries so the public will have access to free radon screening,” said PRL director Ronald Sheppard in a news release.
Some amount of radon is present in every home — the question is how much. A recent study from the University of Calgary indicated as high as one in six homes in western Canada have high radon levels.
Radon gas comes from the break down of uranium in the ground and can build up in homes. Exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
It is invisible and odourless, so the only way to know if levels have reached a harmful level is through proper screening.
Health Canada Guidelines set the cap at 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3). Anything higher than that, and homeowners should take steps to reduce the gas, such as contacting a certified radon mitigator.
The kits available to PRL members come with complete instructions on their use, but are for initial screening only.
A three-month radon rest is required after an initial screening to get an accurate annual average radon level.
“I certainly hope that Ponoka patrons will check out these items, as radon is a dangerous element that can be present in our homes and proactive monitoring is essential in preventing the effects of radon poisoning,” said Galway.