Did you know? Radon gas is a leading cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking.
What is radon?
Radon is :
- a natural gas produced by the breakdown of uranium, commonly found in rocks and soils
- a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that can easily move up through the ground and into household basements through faults, cracks, drains, and joints in the foundation
- a gas that breaks down into radioactive particles that become bound to particulate matter in the air that we breathe
What are the health effects of radon?
The breakdown of radon into radioactive particles in human lungs is linked to cancer. Radon gas is only a health concern when confined or concentrated in a basement or room where it cannot dilute with fresh air to lower concentrations (be less concentrated).
You should test your home for radon
Almost every home in Canada has some radon. But the levels vary from one house to the next, even if they are next door to each other.
The only way to know if you have a radon problem is to test your home. It is simple to do and does not cost much. You have two options for testing:
- Hire a certified radon measurement professional.
- Do it yourself. You can buy home radon test kits from some hardware stores or order them by phone or online. The kits include a radon detector that you expose to the air inside your home for a period of time and then send it to a laboratory for analysis. The lab will send you the results.
Health Canada recommends using a “long-term test device”, which collects a sample over a period of at least 3 months. The best months to test are between September and April, when your windows are mostly closed.
How can you reduce radon your home?
If the radon level in your home is above the Canadian guideline of 200 becquerels/metre³, you need to reduce it. The higher the radon level in your home, the sooner it needs to be reduced.
A certified radon mitigation professional can help provide you with the most effective way to reduce radon in your home.
One of these solutions is a commonly-used method known as sub-slab depressurization. For this solution, a pipe is installed through the foundation floor and is vented to the outside with a small fan, which draws the radon from under the house and pushes it back outside, before it can enter your home. This solution can reduce the radon level in a home by more than 90%.
Increasing the ventilation in your basement and sealing any locations where radon could enter through the foundation can also help reduce radon levels, but these solutions might not be as effective as sub-slab depressurization.
For more information:
If you would like to speak to a public health inspector about radon, you can submit your question or complaint electronically or call 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).
This item was last modified on August 16, 2019