issues and experts

SFU researcher urges North Shore citizens to test for cancer-causing radon gas

January 23, 2018

As the first initiative of its kind in B.C., SFU health sciences researcher Anne-Marie Nicol is giving out free radon-testing kits for North Shore citizens 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."

Nicol 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 can speak to:

-       her partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health to place radon test kits in North and West Vancouver public schools after her recent report, which revealed radon testing varied greatly across public schools in Canada

-       how the lack of radon testing is problematic, as it is the only way to determine whether dangerous radon levels are present

-       how the results from her initiative will make a case for changing building regulations

Nicol's research is funded by SFU's Community Engagement Initiative Project.


Anne-Marie Nicol, SFU Health Sciences, 604.781.2491,
Wan Yee Lok, SFU Communications & Marketing, 778.782.3210,