In preparation for winter, when harmful radon levels are generally the highest indoors, November was established as Radon Action Month.
The colourless, odorless and tasteless properties of radon make it difficult to detect. Licensed technicians are your best defense to detect radon and keep your family safe. The professionals at ClimateCare make up the largest network of certified radon detection and mitigation experts in Ontario. If you are unfamiliar with radon and its potential harms, then keep reading to learn more information to help you take action against radon in your home.
Common Sources of Harmful Radon
Radon is a radioactive natural gas, produced when uranium decays in soil, rock or water. Radon is not a threat to outdoor air quality due to its low concentration dilutions. Soil is the major source that transmits radon in indoor spaces. Other sources such as water or granite produce lower concentrations of radon and are not known to be as harmful.
When buildings are on a foundation of bedrock or soil that contain uranium, radon can creep into buildings through openings in foundation walls, floors or gaps around pipes and cables. Enclosed spaces or poorly ventilated spaces where radon is present can lead to high concentrations. In addition, radon can also come indoors through:
- Exhaust fans
…as a result of the pressure differences between the house and the soil.
The differences in pressure can bring radon indoors which then influences the rate of exchange of outdoor and indoor air. Common areas where high concentrations of radon are present can be found in poorly ventilated basements or crawl spaces mainly because of their close location to the source.
High Exposures of Radon Can Lead to Lung Cancer
High exposures to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. According to Health Canada, 16% of lung cancer deaths in Canada are caused by radon exposure. Smokers who are exposed to high concentrations of radon have a greater chance of developing lung cancer.
Currently, there is no link between high radon exposure and other respiratory illnesses. However, radon’s strong link to lung cancer is reason enough to start reducing your exposure to this harmful gas.
When to test for Radon
Health Canada recommends every home be tested for radon on a long term basis for a minimum of 3 months. The 3 month period provides an annual average exposure rate and is used as a guideline to help determine if the concentration exceeds the safe level of exposure. The levels of radon fluctuate throughout the year based on weather patterns. Since the concentrations are higher in the winter, it is recommended that testing takes place during that time.