Now that heating season has arrived, Nova Scotians are encouraged to test their homes for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive soil gas. In partnership with the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, Cancer Care Nova Scotia, and the Canadian Cancer Society-Nova Scotia Division, the province will remind homeowners that it is “Time to Test” throughout the next several weeks. “By launching this public-awareness campaign, we continue to lead the country in addressing radon as a health issue,” said Mark Parent, Minister of Environment and Labour, the lead agency for radon testing and awareness in the province. “The health risk of radon in indoor air is associated with long-term exposure,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Public Health Officer. “If you’re exposed to elevated levels over many years, you are at increased risk for lung cancer, especially if you are a smoker.” Long-term exposure to high levels of radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Testing during the heating season gives a more accurate measure of how much radon is accumulating in living spaces from soil underneath buildings because windows and doors are closed. Testing devices, including mail-in laboratory analysis, are available through major retailers, environmental testing companies or on the Internet for $40-$80. A new national guideline suggests reducing radon gas levels to 200 Becquerels per cubic metre, one quarter the level described in the old guideline. For more information on radon gas, testing, and the Health Canada guideline, call Environment and Labour at 1-877-9-ENVIRO (368476) or go to the department’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/enla .