Do you know what sort of radon levels are in your household?
November was Radon Action Month across Canada and Health Canada wants folks to know about the dangerous, radioactive, odourless gas present at dangerous levels in many Canadian homes.
“Radon is a radioactive gas which breakdowns from uranium in rock and soil, once it’s released into outdoor air it’s of not of concern, but it can accumulate in your home and become a concern,” said Madison Pecoskie, regional radiation specialist with Health Canada.
“Radon is everywhere, it’s all over Canada, there are some areas that are hotspots — regardless of you’re in a hotspot, it can affect you.”
It can enter homes and other structures through any place that has contact with the ground: whether that be small cracks in the foundation of a building, drains or sumps in the floor, gaps around service pipes or any number of potential places.
Because Canadian homes are so well-insulated from the freezing winters, radon can collect in high concentrations indoors, leading to an elevated risk of developing lung cancer over an individual’s lifetime. In fact, Radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
However! It’s not all doom and gloom. There are measures you can take to reduce the level of radon in your home, and it all starts with a radon test.
You can test the air inside of your home with a single-test kit or a continuous digital monitor, both available online. In Alberta, long-term radon tests can be bought from the non-profit “Evict Radon” at www.evictradon.org, which are sold at cost for citizens to test their homes with.
This test includes a pre-paid envelope to return to a lab for analysis, the associated fees, and a report at the end of the analysis process. The length of the test is 90 days and is best conducted over the heating season, so if you’re interested in finding out more about the radon levels in your home, the best time to access a test was yesterday!
Once you’ve tested for radon there are a variety of measures you can take if the concentration within your home is above recommended levels.
“It’s really easy to mitigate it if you have a high level of it,” Pecoskie said. “It’s something you can do to check off your list to help protect your health.”
For more information, check out Health Canada’s website at www.takeactiononradon.ca