Do you believe that being a non-smoker would virtually eliminate your chances of getting lung cancer? While it is true that smoking cigarettes is the #1 cause of lung cancer, the #2 cause is a far less visible culprit: radon gas. According to Health Canada, radon kills 3,200 Canadians each year.

What is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is produced during the breakdown of uranium in the soil. Radon is harmless when it gets diluted with fresh air. Homes trap some radon from escaping, and can build up radon levels that could cause cancer over the long term.

How would I know if I am at risk?

There are no signs of high radon levels, as it can’t be seen, smelled or felt in any way by Humans. For this reason, it is recommended to test your home for radon levels. The test can be easily purchased at most hardware stores. You perform the testing by collecting a sample in the lowest level of our home for a specified period of time and send the sample for testing. The testing company will notify you with the tested level of radon in your home. Radon levels are highest in the lowest levels of your home.

A map of Canada showing where Radon levels are the highest

How long would radon take to cause a health problem?

There is not a definitive timeline to how long it would take to cause a health problem. Radon is naturally occurring and some exposure is normal. Health Canada recommends that levels higher than 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (200 Bq/m3) in your tested sample should warrant corrective action.

How do I lower the radon in my home?

If your home radon levels are too high, you can contact a radon mitigation company in your area. They will give you a quote to put a system in place that safely vents the radon to the outside of your home. The cost for this varies with the size and build characteristics of your home. In the short term, you can avoid spending a lot of time in the lowest level of your home until the issue is fixed to reduce exposure. In warmer weather, you can vent the areas by keeping windows open.

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