Radon is deadly. Keep it out of your homes
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. But a licensed technician is your best defense to detect radon and keep your family safe.
Click here to find a qualified contractor
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, windows and fireplaces 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 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.
Learn more and locate a qualified contractor to service your air ducts, furnace and air conditioning systems by going to the Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) Contractor Locator page, or calling 1-877-467-HRAI (4724). All HRAI member contractors have been pre-screened and have the required trade licences, technical certifications and insurance coverage to service on your system.
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