Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can test your home for radon levels and protect yourself and your loved ones from its harmful effects.

Do you know what radon is?

Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the uranium in the ground that can get into your home undetected. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it.

Is radon in your home?

Radon is found naturally in the environment, so all homes have some

level of radon. However, if your home has a radon level that is above

the Canadian guideline for radon, it is recommended that you take steps

to reduce these levels to below 200 Becquerels per cubic metre.

What are the health risks of radon?

Over 16% of lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon exposure in

Canada. It is estimated that more than 21,000 Canadians will die from

lung cancer this year, and more than 3,000 of those deaths are because

of exposure to radon indoors. People who smoke and are exposed to

elevated levels of radon have a higher risk of developing lung cancer.

How do you test your home for radon?

There are two ways to test the radon levels in your home:

  1. Purchase a do-it-yourself radon test kit at a hardware store or

  2. local community health organization; or

  3. Hire a certified radon professional to conduct the test for you.

No matter what option you choose, testing your home is the first step

to protecting you and your family from radon. The best time to test for

radon in your home is during the fall and winter months when doors and

windows are closed.

What do you do if radon levels in your home are high?

If a radon level above 200 Becquerel/metre3 is detected in your home, contact a certified radon professional to determine the best and most cost-effective solution to reduce the radon in your home. Techniques to lower radon levels are effective and can save lives. A radon mitigation system can be installed in less than a day. In most homes, this system will reduce the radon level by more than 80% for about the same cost as other common home repairs, such as replacing the furnace or air conditioner.


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Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that causes lung cancer. In Canada, it is the second highest cause of lung cancer, after smoking. It comes from the ground and is produced by the breakdown of the mineral uranium that occurs naturally in the soil. As uranium breaks down, it eventually releases radon. Radon is a gas, so it travels easily through the soil, working its way toward the surface.

When radon escapes into outdoor air, the concentrations are low (approximately 15 Bq/m3). However, radon also escapes into our homes wherever they’re in contact with the soil, finding its way in through cracks or around pipes and drains. Here in Canada, our homes are well sealed to keep us warm in the winter, and so the radon concentration in our homes can easily build up.

Canada is one of several countries with high levels of radon. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and the Yukon are regions within the country that have radon levels that are

comparable to some of the highest levels

around the world, such as in the Czech

Republic, Finland, Mexico and Sweden.

However, every region in Canada has homes

with elevated radon, so it’s worthwhile

testing your home. The percentage of homes

with high radon levels are presented in the

map below, developed by Colin Gutcher and

the radon technical operations group at the

Radiation Protection Bureau.


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