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Short-term radon test kits not reliable, says U of C researcher

Last Updated Dec 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm MST

FILE PHOTO: Container for radon testing sampling. (CREDIT: iStock user stevecoleimages)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Researchers at the University of Calgary are warning homeowners those quick radon test kits might be giving you a false sense of security.

They found the kits with an average test time of five days don’t provide accurate readings of the naturally-occurring, cancer-causing compound that can be found in many Canadian homes.

Dr. Aaron Goodarzi at the Cumming School of Medicine said it’s far to short a sample period.

“In order to accurately determine your long term radon exposure, which is very important information to protecting yourself against a possibility of future lung cancer, you should be doing a long-term–meaning 90 days or more day–radon test.”

The researchers took samples from homes in both the winter and summer and found the short term test kits were inaccurate up to 99 per cent of the time.

According to Health Canada, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

The findings suggest people in the Prairie provinces have the second-highest radon exposure on Earth.

Goodarzi has been working with the Real Estate Council of Alberta to educate realtors about what advice to give home buyers when it comes to testing for the carcinogen.