Radon is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas that can seep undetected into your home and emit
ionizing radiation which can cause lung cancer. Protect your family by testing your home for radon.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas found naturally in the environment.
It is produced naturally by the breakdown of uranium in the soil, rock and water.
As a gas, radon can move freely through the soil enabling it to
escape to the atmosphere or seep into buildings.
Since radon can't be seen, smelled, or tasted, it can get into your home undetected.
In outdoor air, radon is diluted to such low concentrations that it is not a concern. But in confined
spaces like your house, radon can build up to high levels and pose a health risk. Radon levels are
generally highest in basements and crawl spaces because these areas are nearest to the source and are
usually poorly ventilated.
Possible entry points into your home include:
cracks in foundation walls and floor slabs
cracks in foundation walls
gaps in suspended floors or around service pipes
sumps or cavities inside walls
the water supply
The amount of radon in your home depends on:
the amount of uranium in the ground
the number of entry points into your home
how well your home is ventilated
Do you know?
It is estimated that a non-smoker exposed to high levels of radon over a lifetime has a one in 20 chance of developing
lung cancer. That estimate increases to one in three for a smoker exposed to high levels of radon over a lifetime.
Health Risks Of Radon
Radon exposure increases your risk of developing lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
The only known health effect of radon is an increased chance of developing lung cancer. Radon is the second leading
cause of lung cancer after smoking. As radon decays, it produces decay by-products, sometimes
called "radon daughters" or "radon progeny". Radon gas and radon progeny in the air can be breathed into the
lungs where they breakdown further and emit "alpha particles", which are absorbed by nearby lung tissue and damaging lung cells.
Damaged lung cells have the potential to result in cancer when they reproduce.
Not everyone exposed to radon develops cancer. The time between exposure and the onset of the disease
usually takes many, many years. Unlike smoking, occasional exposure to radon does not produce any symptoms, such as
coughing or headaches. Your risk of developing lung cancer from radon depends on the concentration of radon in
the air you breathe and the length of time you are exposed. If you are a smoker also exposed to elevated levels
of radon, your risk of lung cancer increases significantly.
Testing For Radon
Almost every home in Canada has some level of radon. But the levels vary from one house to another, even if
they are next door to each other. The only way to know if you have a radon problem in your home is to have
it tested. The test is simple, inexpensive, and can be ordered online.
Radon levels may vary daily, weekly, or even seasonally, depending on the climate, indoor ventilation and
heating systems used. The best time to measure radon levels in your home is during the colder seasons
(e.g., October to April) when windows and doors are kept closed and indoor radon levels are generally at
their highest. Best results are obtained when testing for a minimum of three months. For real-estate transactions,
often a short-term test is conducted over 2 to 4 days under closed house conditions.
Reducing Radon Levels In Your Home
If the radon level in your home is above the Canadian guideline of 200 becquerels/metre, you need to reduce it.
The higher the radon level in your home, the sooner it needs to be reduced. If your home tests above the guideline
you should hire a certified radon professional to determine the best and most cost effective way to reduce the
radon level in your home. Health Canada recommends that no mitigation decision be made without a long term test.
One of the commonly-used radon solutions is known as sub-slab depressurization. This method requires a pipe
to be installed through the foundation floor to the outside. A small fan is attached, which draws the radon
from under the house and pushes it outside, before it can enter your home. This solution can reduce the radon
level in a home by more than 90%.
Increased ventilation and sealing of radon entry points can also help reduce radon levels, but these solutions
alone may not be as effective as sub-slab depressurization.
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