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Do I Have Radon in My Home?

Posted in Air Quality, on December 24, 2020

Radon testing has been the focus of major public health campaigns in the last decade for good reasons. Radon gas is a colourless, odourless, invisible gas that is the second most leading cause of lung cancer in Canadians. Home radon testing can help determine whether or not your home is affected so that you can lower your and your family’s risk.

Where is Radon From?

Radon gas isn’t caused by appliances or items that we bring into our home - it forms deep underground as uranium deposits naturally break down. The byproduct of this breakdown is radon gas, which slowly makes its way through the earth to the atmosphere, where it usually harmlessly dissipates. 

How Does Radon Get in My Home?

Problems arise when radon gas gets trapped in our homes. The indoor environment tends to have negative pressure, which attracts radon gas. It slips into our homes through cracks in the foundation, sump pumps, and other openings near or underground. 

Symptoms of Radon Exposure

There are very few symptoms of radon exposure at the moment. Unlike natural gas, there is no smell; you can’t see it, and you can’t feel it. It’s only after years or decades of exposure that symptoms begin to appear. Radon gas affects the body primarily through the lungs - the small radon particles are breathed in, exposing you to small levels of radiation and irritating or damaging tissues. 

Some of the common symptoms in people affected by radon gas include:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • chest pain
  • trouble swallowing
  • persistent cough

Testing for Radon

The only way to know if you are affected is to have professional radon testing performed in your home. This passive test occurs over weeks or months and monitors the level of radon gas that collects. Radon levels can change and shift with the weather or seasons, so a long-term test reduces the risk of false positives and gives you more accurate results. 

What If I Discover Radon Gas?

If home radon testing discovers unsafe levels of radon gas in your home, there are a lot of different mitigation strategies that can help you. Small DIY tasks like sealing foundation cracks or gaps can make a big difference, while fans and air pumps may also be installed to help collect and direct radon away from your home. 

SafeAir Tests for Radon Gas

From 2009-2013, a survey found that 25% of homes in Ontario had radon levels that were at or above the level that the World Health Organization deems safe. While your risk varies geographically, radon testing is a simple and easy way to ensure your home is safe. Installation of the testing kit usually takes less than an hour, and remains in place, without supervision, for at least three months. We send our results to a third-party laboratory and help you interpret the results so that you feel empowered to make the best decision for your home and family. For more information about radon testing in Toronto or the GTA, get in touch at 416-414-5690. 

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