Radon is an invisible, odourless, and tasteless radioactive gas that is generated by soil minerals found throughout our environment, it can move freely through the soil, enabling it to escape into the atmosphere or be drawn into buildings. The radiation emitted by radon is measured in becquerels (Bq). The major confirmed health effect associated with exposure to radon in air is an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Long-term exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer for people who have never smoked.
In confined spaces like a house, radon can build up to high levels and over time become a health risk. The current Canadian guideline for radon is 200 becquerels per cubic meter (200 Bq/m3). Radon is a gas heavier than air so lower areas of homes and buildings are usually more affected. Basements, rooms over concrete slabs and areas over crawlspaces can have high radon levels.
All homes have some level of radon. The question is how much and the only way to know is to test.
There are several ways for testing for radon in your home or building, including one test that you can do yourself, It is call Radon Test Kit and you can ordered online, the cost variate depending if you but a long term Radon test kit or a short term Radon Test kit, or the Radtrak2 Alpha Track, Victoria Alarm ($200.00) Wave alarm ($249) and the Pro Series3 Monitor ($210)
Long-term Radon Test Kit Approximate cost $55.00 Long-term tests range from 91 days to 1 year in length
Short-term Radon Test Kit Approximate cost $80.00 Short-term tests are typically deployed for a period of 2-7 days
(Is recommendable to do your test with a long-term test kit (one that measures radon levels in your home for at least 3 months)
Radon Mitigation Methods
open sumps, floor drains, floor wall joints, floor cracks and voids in foundation
A pipe with a fan attached is installed through the foundation floor and connected to the outside through an exterior wall or up through the roof to draw the radon from below the house to the outside to stop it from entering the home.
Technique used to treat radon in homes with a crawl space. Homes with both a basement and a crawl space will likely need to employ this technique
Radon Guidelines CanadaRadon- Reduction Guide for Canadians
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More Radon Information
The Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists website is a great place to find information on radon in general, as well as measurement and mitigation.
Visit Health Canada or call 1-800-622-6232
Visit The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT’s clean air resource centre for other downloadable resources about radon.
Health Canada provides a radon reduction guide for professional contractors.
A NEW Health Canada document titled Radon Reduction Guide for Canadians is now available.
If you are a mitigator interested in becoming certified, please refer to the new Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program.
Radon Action Month (Alberta Primetime)
Radon Awareness PSA with Mike Holmes Jr. (YouTube)