By John McPhee
A Brockton councillor wants to spread the word about the potential dangers of radon gas in area homes.
Coun. Chris Peabody won council’s approval last week to investigate setting up a partnership with the Bruce-Grey Health Unit to develop a plan for public awareness and for the distribution of test kits to interested homeowners.
Peabody told council that a study of 99 homes in Bruce-Grey released by Health Canada in August found that 10 per cent of the homes contained radon gas concentrations above the recommended limit of 200 bq. The provincial average is 4.2 per cent of homes.
“Exposure to radon gas in homes accounts for 16 per cent of all lung cancers in Canada,” Peabody said. “That’s very high.”
Radon gas is naturally occurring, Peabody said, adding that it can exist in any home. “New homes have it, older homes have it. There’s just no way to tell, unless you test for it.”
He wants to investigate reducing costs of a test kit by buying bulk like was done for the Green cone program he helped introduce to Brockton a few years ago. Peabody thinks the kits would cost about $10 each.
The test kit is to be placed in a home’s basement for about three to four months and then sent to the health unit. Results would be emailed back to the homeowner to help preserve privacy.
He told council that the only way to mitigate radon gas levels once discovered is by ventilating the basement.
“The focus is on public health and prevention,” Peabody said, adding the “bigger picture is saving on health care costs.”
Coun. Anne-Louise Gibbons supported Peabody’s request. “If we’re against wind turbines for health reasons, we should support this,” she said. “We’re legally bound, as elected officials, to protect the health of our residents.”
Peabody told council that the program could be used “as a test model for other municipalities and health units”.