Anne-Marie Nicol with a radon test kit.

Health sciences researcher urges locals to test for cancer-causing radon gas

January 24, 2018

As the first initiative of its kind in B.C., health sciences researcher Anne-Marie Nicol is giving out free radon-testing kits for residents living in North and West Vancouver, and the Sea to Sky region to test for the cancer-causing gas in their homes.

Radon, a radioactive gas that is both odourless and colourless, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada after smoking.

"Less than five per cent of all Canadians have tested their homes for radon," says Nicol. "The gas can easily accumulate indoors and can enter buildings through cracks in foundations and crawl spaces."

She says the danger from radon is very real and other countries have moved aggressively ahead in terms of policies and regulations. But Canada continues to lag behind. While the World Health Organization recommends radon levels not exceed 100 Bq/m3, Health Canada’s guidelines double that.

Nicol is offering 100 free test kits to SFU faculty and staff living in the above regions. Testing is very simple, and takes 91 days to complete. The radon test kits are non-toxic, have no moving parts and are child- and pet-friendly.

To be eligible for a test kit, you must live in a home that has ground contact, or a basement living area. Please contact the study coordinator at to request for a radon test kit.