RADON is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in Canadians. Any home may have certain levels of RADON regardless of it's age. Testing can be done to let you know what levels of RADON are present in your home. Levels can vary based on seasons, during winter months the levels are particularly higher than they may be in the summer.
Should you have your home tested? Read more about RADON and contact me if you would like more information about testing!
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when the uranium in soil and rock breaks down. It is invisible, odourless and tasteless. When radon is released from the ground into the outdoor air, it is diluted and is not a concern. However, in enclosed spaces, like homes, it can sometimes accumulate to high levels, which can be a risk to the health of you and your family.
What are the Health Effects of Radon?
Radon gas breaks down or decays to form radioactive elements that can be inhaled into the lungs. In the lungs, decay continues, creating radioactive particles that release small bursts of energy. This energy is absorbed by nearby lung tissue, damaging the lung cells. When cells are damaged, they have the potential to result in cancer when they reproduce.
Exposure to high levels of radon in indoor air results in an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The risk of cancer depends on the level of radon and how long a person is exposed to those levels.
Exposure to radon and tobacco use together can significantly increase your risk of lung cancer. For example, if you are a lifelong smoker your risk of getting lung cancer is 1 in 10. If you add long term exposure to a high level of radon, your risk becomes 1 in 3. On the other hand, if you are a non-smoker, your lifetime lung cancer risk at the same high radon level is 1 in 20.
How can Radon get into my Home?
The air pressure inside your home is usually lower than in the soil surrounding the foundation. This difference in pressure draws air and other gases, including radon, from the soil into your home.
Radon can enter a home any place it finds an opening where the house contacts the soil: cracks in foundation walls and in floor slabs, construction joints, gaps around service pipes, support posts, window casements, floor drains, sumps or cavities inside walls.
What are the Radon Levels in Canada?
Radon is found across Canada, because it occurs naturally in soil. Concentrations differ greatly, but are usually higher in areas where there is a higher amount of uranium in underlying rock and soil. Some amount of radon is found in almost every home, but concentration levels will vary from one house to another, even if they are similar and next door to each other. It is expected that only a small percentage of homes will have radon levels above the guideline but the ONLY way to be sure of the radon level in your home is to TEST.
What is the Current Canadian Guideline for Radon in Indoor Air?
The current Canadian guideline for radon in indoor air for dwellings is 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (200 Bq/m3). This was recently reduced from 800 Bq/m3 based on new information about potential health risks. A Becquerel means one radioactive disintegration per second. Individual dwelling owners may wish to reduce radon levels as much as they reasonably can, using methods they find affordable and practical. However, the level in a dwelling should not be above the new guideline. This all sounds very technical and difficult to understand, to properly know if you and your family are at risk you should have a professional test performed.
Radon Testing in Durham Region can be performed by Homespect Home and Property Inspections, 905-449-2786.