As of 2014, new regulations state that every home in Ontario must have a carbon monoxide alarm and most homeowners are aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. But how much do you know about radon and its potential danger?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is created naturally by the breakdown of uranium in the ground. It is found across Canada, though concentrations are higher in some areas. Much like carbon monoxide, radon can’t be seen, smelled, or tasted, so it enters your home undetected. It is expected that a small amount of radon be found in most homes. According to Health Canada, the 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.
Health Canada offers these possible entry points that homeowners should be aware of:
– cracks in foundation walls and floor slabs
– construction joints
– gaps around service pipes
– support posts
– window casements
– floor drains
– sumps or cavities inside walls
– dirt floors
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. According to Health Canada, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country.
There are two ways to text your home for radon. Buy a radon test kit at your local home improvement store or online at www.radoncontrol.ca for $50 – $100. Be sure to follow the directions carefully. You can also check your community for certified radon measurement professionals who will come into your home and conduct the test. This option is more costly and varies depending on the size of your home.
For more information, visit www.healthcanada.gc.ca