lung cancer in non-smokers. Health
Canada says non-smokers exposed
to high levels of radon over a lifetime
have a one-in- 20 chance of getting
lung cancer. For smokers, the risk is
one in three.
The Lung Association has a Radon
Aware program and sells testing kits
for $29.95; most hardware stores also
Like radon, carbon monoxide is
also an invisible gas. Produced in the
home by fuel-burning appliances,
it causes dizziness, fatigue and
headaches, and can be fatal. The
Alberta Firefighters Association
recommends placing a CO alarm on
every floor of your home and testing
them every year (when daylight time
falls back is an easy reminder).
If you rent your home, your landlord
has to make sure it meets provincial
regulations, including for air quality.
You’ll find the minimum housing
standards at health.alberta.ca.
Searching for a silicosis treatment
Every year, 100,000 North American workers, including builders,
masons and miners, are at risk of getting a killer disease: silicosis.
The disease, caused by scarring of the lungs after years of
unprotected exposure to silica dust, is fatal without a lung transplant.
Tiny silica crystals, once lodged in the lungs, cause inflammation,
prompting immune cells to act as if they are fighting infection. But
immune cells can’t kill silica particles. The attacks instead cause
severe scarring known as fibrosis. The scarring reduces the lungs’
capacity to use oxygen.
Arpan Neupane, an Alberta innovates – Health Solutions researcher,
is studying how these immune cells interact with silica particles. He
hopes to find a treatment that slows or reduces the inflammation,
scarring and immune response.
“if we can control the amount of inflammation so that it doesn’t lead to
fibrosis, we can help at-risk individuals,” says Neupane, a University of
Calgary doctoral candidate.
— Rob Alexander
Mobile Life Mobile Solutions
Download our med tracking app at AHS.ca/mobile