Concerns were expressed by the band and leadership at Red Earth Cree Nation (RECN) around exposure to indoor radon gas given increased rates of lung cancer among RECN community members. Concerns about exposure to radon gas at RECN were first documented in 1977 following screening tests of houses on reserves in Saskatchewan completed by the Radiation Protection Bureau of Health and Welfare Canada. In addition, previous radon monitoring results completed between 1996 and 1997 showed that some homes in Red Earth Cree Nation tested above the Health Canada guideline of 200 Bq/m3. Since then, many new homes have been built, suggesting that additional radon testing in more homes was needed.
The purpose of this study was to assess indoor radon exposure levels in homes, public buildings and facilities within RECN; to assess risk factors for high radon levels and to recommend appropriate prevention, mitigation and communication strategies to reduce health impacts from radon. In addition, the study aimed to examine the association between exposure to indoor radon levels and lung cancer in RECN.
Radon dosimeters were installed in residential dwellings, public buildings and facilities in the fall of 2019 for a period of six months to one year. The dosimeters were, then, collected and analyzed. The results showed that all radon levels in public buildings were below the Health Canada guideline of 200 Bq/m3 except for one location and about 7% of homes had radon levels exceeded the Health Canada guideline of 200 Bq/m3. A presentation summarizing project activities and findings was provided to the Chief and Council. It was recommended that radon mitigation measures should be implemented at those homes with elevated radon levels within two years.