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Radon:

It's Best to Test for Safe Levels in Your Home

As the colder weather arrives, most of us will close up the windows and doors in our homes. At this time of year, it's also important that we test our homes for radon gas and to take action to lower levels if results are above the recommended guidelines.

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally-occurring gas that is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soils and rocks. As it escapes, radon gas gets diluted and does not pose a health risk. However, in confined spaces, high levels of radon gas can accumulate and become a health hazard. Long-term exposure to high levels or radon in our homes can increase the risk of lung cancer!

 

How does Radon enter a home?

Radon can come out of the soil and water and seep into cracks and openings in our homes, especially on the lower floor, basement or crawl space. Radon gas can get into our home through many openings, including unfinished floors, windows, pipes, sump pumps, and cracks in the basement floor or foundation. 

 Did You Know?

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in Ontario. Among non-smokers, radon is the main cause of lung cancer. Among current or former smokers, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Source: Public Health Ontario

What should we do about Radon?

In Canada, there are guidelines for the amount of radon in indoor air. Because we can't see, smell or taste radon, it's best to test for radon to ensure the level in our home is within the guidelines. If the radon level in our home is higher than it should be, we need to take action to reduce it. The higher the level of radon, the sooner it needs to be fixed.

How do we test for Radon?

There are two options for testing a house for radon: to purchase a do-it-yourself radon test kit (available at most hardware stores at a price range of $25-$170) or to hire a radon measurement professional. If choosing to purchase a radon test kit, be sure to closely follow the instructions on how to set up the test.

Check out the resources section below for more information...

Resources

Naturally-Occurring Elevated Radon - Port Hope Area Initiative

Radon In Your Home - Ontario Lung Association

Take Action on Radon Campaign

Radon: What You Need to Know - Health Canada

Testing Your Home for Radon - Healthy Canadians

Radon: Information for Health Professionals - Health Canada