Following the first installment of Andrew Waugh’s multi-part series published March 7 in the Telegraph-Journal, “Public Housing, and an invisible killer,” the New Brunswick Coalition for Tenants Rights and the Conservation Council of New Brunswick are calling on the government of New Brunswick to immediately act to protect people in government-run housing from radon gas.
Radon gas, known as the invisible killer, is a colourless and odourless radioactive gas, classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Radon gas is formed by the radioactive decay of uranium.
Not having enough qualified contractors to test and monitor the radon levels is not an excuse to not spend the required amount of money needed to protect people in public housing from a known carcinogen.
Radon testing at 29 times the federal guideline in a public housing unit requires urgent action. This is not a problem for residents in the wealthy neighbourhoods of Rothesay or Quispamsis and should not be a problem for those living in public housing or in rural areas of the province.
We have known for some time that people across the province have radon in their homes and yet the government of New Brunswick has failed to act.
The 2021 Auditor General report noted the presence of the carcinogen radon as a concern in public housing. Back in 2008, the Conservation Council demanded action for the people finding radon in their homes in uranium exploration hotspots.
In 2008, the Conservation Council was in the media noting the New Brunswick government had failed to follow up on recommended testing of residents in the Harvey area after high levels of radioactive radon gas were found in that area dating all the way back to 1981. The New Brunswick government needs to act now to protect everyone from radon gas.
Tracy Glynn is an organizer with the New Brunswick Coalition for Tenants Rights. Jon MacNeill is the communications director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.