University of Calgary – Cumming School of Medicine

Understanding Behavioural Environmental Design Contributors of High Radon Exposure to Protect Canadian Health

Total Funded: $500,000
Location: Province Wide, Alberta

Canada contains many radon gas-generating regions and, because we have constructed population centres across all of them, radon is the primary cause of lung cancer in 10,000- 40,000 Canadians per decade. We have conducted detailed radon gas analysis of 11,000+ homes spread across Alberta and Saskatchewan, finding that 1 in 6 contain hazardous amounts of radon with newer homes in many regions (but not all) having much higher total radon. We have revealed an unknown “X factor” within environmental design practice across regions that is a major contributor to radon exposure, and our goal now is to understand this and develop solutions to protect the population. We aim to (i) identify modifiable behaviors and environmental design practices influencing chronic radon exposure in our changing world and (ii) define engineering and community intervention solutions applicable within the Canadian context to eliminate radon as a source of cancer in the future.