Radon is a colourless, odourless gas that forms from the breakdown of uranium in soils and rocks.  When radon is released into outside air, it quickly dissipates to very low concentrations.  However, radon can enter into buildings through cracks, pipes or drains in a building and can build up to high levels, beyond what is considered safe by Health Canada.

What are the health risks from Radon?

When you breathe in radon gas, small particles can become lodged in your lungs that release radioactive energy. This can damage the DNA in your lungs and can lead to lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada, causing about 3200 deaths a year. In non-smokers, it is the leading cause of lung cancer. It is also the second biggest cause of environmental cancers in Ontario, behind UV radiation.

How do I know if radon is a problem in my home?

The only way to know for sure is to test. Radon testing is simple and can be done by homeowners or certified professionals. Radon test kits cost $30-70 and can be purchased from hardware stores or reliable online sellers. Make sure to purchase a long-term radon test kit that test for a minimum of 3 months.

What can be done if there are high levels of radon in my home?

The good news is that high levels in radon in a home can be fixed.  Home owners should consult a certified radon professional to determine the best radon reduction plan to lower radon levels. If levels of radon in your home are high (above 600Bq/m3) you should remediate your home to reduce radon levels within one year. If your radon levels are between 200-600Bq/m3 Health Canada recommends taking action to reduce levels within two years.  A radon test should be done after mitigation has been done to ensure the actions were effective in reducing radon below the Health Canada guidelines of 200Bq/m3.

Additional Resources

For more information on radon testing, where to buy radon test kits, and how to find a certified radon remediation specialist visit: https://takeactiononradon.ca/  or https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/radon.html

For health professionals visit:  MacHealth/Radon