Monitor your home for radon with your library card

The Bowen Library may specialize in books but its latest acquisition is a little bit different. 

Radon gas is radioactive and comes from naturally occurring uranium in soils and rocks. It is an odorless, tasteless and colourless indoor air hazard that can lead to serious health issues. There are several regions in Canada that have higher levels of uranium than others and parts of the Lower Mainland fall into that category.  

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Bowen Library is launching a new collection of radon-detection kits that islanders can borrow to measure radon levels in their homes or places of business. Our aim is to increase awareness about radon and encourage people to test their homes as the majority of exposures occur where people spend most of their time.

A group of Simon Fraser University researchers have been working with Health Canada and the B.C. Lung Association in order to raise awareness of the dangers of radon exposure. Through a grant, this group has made radon detection kits available to all public libraries in North and West Vancouver, as well as the Sea to Sky and Sunshine Coast regions.  

Radon detection kits are available for four-week loan periods. The digital monitors are extremely easy to use: all you have to do is place the device in a specific area of the home, or work, for three to four weeks to determine the radon level in that environment.  The kits come with information about the gas, factors that influence indoor levels, and strategies to reduce exposure. 

The digital monitors used in this program are intended for short-term testing and do not replace the long-term tests recommended by Health Canada. Because the loan period needs to be limited, the intent of providing these devices is to simply allow customers to get an idea of the radon levels in their home. 

Visit for more information about the Bowen Library. 

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