Radon is a colourless, odourless gas that is produced from the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Radon can enter a home through tiny openings in floors and foundations and build up to dangerous levels usually in the basement or on the main level. Long-term exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada. The only way to find out if your home has high radon levels is to test for it. If the radon level in a home is high it can be easily fixed at a reasonable price. Techniques to lower radon levels are effective and can save lives.
- Test kits are available from hardware stores as well as online. Buy a long-term test kit that allows for testing for at least three months.
- Follow the instructions provided with the kit and make sure the kit is placed in an appropriate spot. Place the kit in the lowest level of your home where anyone spends at least four hours a day. Do not move the kit until the test period is over (write a reminder in your calendar indicating when the test is over). Once the test is over, mail it to the address found in the kit and wait for the results to be sent to you.
- if your reading is more than 200 Bq/m3, Health Canada recommends you take measures to reduce the radon level in your home. If your reading is 200 Bq/m3 or less, you may still wish to take measures to reduce the level of radon in your home. The lower the radon level in your home, the lower the risk to your health.
- If your radon level is between 200-600 Bq/m3, action should be taken to lower radon levels within two years. If radon levels are over 600 Bq/m3, action should be taken within a year.
- Steps to lower the radon level include Active Soil Depressurization which is the most effective radon reduction strategy done by a contractor.
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