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Radon is an invisible, colourless, odourless gas. It occurs naturally when uranium breaks down in soil and rock. When radon is released from the ground into outside air, it’s diluted and not a concern. But in enclosed spaces like homes, radon can reach high levels that pose a health risk to people. 

In Canada, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. People who smoke and are exposed to radon are at even higher risk of lung cancer.

How does Radon Enter a Home? 

Radon can come out of the soil and water and seep into cracks, openings and gaps in your home. This is especially true on lower floors, basements or crawl spaces. All homes contain some level of radon. Levels will vary from one house to another, even right next door. The only way to be sure of the radon level in your home is to test.  

Testing for radon is easy and inexpensive. There are two ways to test a home for radon: 

  1. Purchase a do-it-yourself radon test kit (available at most hardware stores). Be sure to follow instructions for setting up the test. 
  2. Hire a certified, radon-measurement professional. 

Radon levels vary by day and week, so it’s important to measure radon frequently. Health Canada recommends testing for at least three months, between October to April.  

Some public libraries lend radon monitors. These are different from radon test kits, and should be used a as first step to determine if you should compete a full radon test. The Haliburton County Public Library and the Trent Hills Public Library (Campbellford) will have radon monitors available for residents to borrow starting in October 2023.  

What you do depends what the test tells you about how much radon there is. Radon is measured in becquerels per cubic metre (Bg/m 3). The Canadian guideline is that anything over 200 Bg/m3 requires action. The higher the level of radon, the sooner it needs to be addressed. You can contact a certified radon professional to figure out the best and most cost-effective way to reduce in your home.

Additional Resources

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