Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from rock and soil. It can enter homes and other buildings and build up to harmful levels. Being exposed long-term to high levels of radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Reduce the risk
Radon is present in every indoor space. Every school, every home, every workplace building. To find out the level of radon, you have to test for it.
How do you test for radon?
Testing for radon is easy.
- Purchase a long-term radon test kit (average $30 – $50), install it on the lowest occupied level of the building during fall and winter. Leave it there for at least three months. Or, hire a certified radon professional to help you test.
- At the end of three months, send the radon test kit to the laboratory address included with the kit. The laboratory will send a report back to you with your radon levels.
What can you do if radon levels are above the guideline?
If your levels are above the Health Canada guideline of 200 bequerels per cubic metre of air (a bequerel is a measure of radioactive decay), you should take action to reduce the amount of radon in the building. A radon professional can offer options for what to do next, such as the following:
- Hire a certified radon contractor to install an Active Sub-Slab Depressurization system, which is a small exhaust fan that draws the radon from below the concrete floor slab and vents it through a pipe to the outdoors. This is the solution that is likely to be most effective in reducing radon to acceptable levels.
- Increase the ventilation in the space by hiring a contractor to install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or by optimizing the use of an existing ventilation system.
- Seal all cracks and openings in foundation walls and floors.
The higher the level of radon, the sooner you should take action.
What else can you do?
Do not allow anyone to smoke within the indoor space. Exposure to cigarette smoke combined with high radon levels significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer. A person who has had long-term exposure to high radon levels has a 1 in 20 chance of developing lung cancer. When combined with exposure to cigarette smoke, the risk of developing lung cancer increases to 1 in 3.
Sign the petition asking governments across Canada to protect students and staff in schools and child care environments from radon ─ a well-known, serious and preventable cancer risk.
Need more information?
Visit our Radon Resources page.