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What is Radon?

Posted in Air Quality, on February 22, 2021

Radon gas is a public health issue that’s been around for decades but is only now being identified through radon testing and inspection. If you’ve never thought about having radon testing done in your home, you’re not alone — while toxic levels of radon gas are found across Canada, testing campaigns have only become common in the last decade. If you’ve never heard of radon or had a home radon test, this article will introduce you to this gas and why you need to test for it. 

What is Radon Gas? 

air quality test for radonRadon is a radioactive gas that is a natural part of the environment and is formed deep underground as uranium in the earth’s crust breaks down. Radon can’t be detected by smell, sight, or taste — it is only picked up through radon testing devices. 

Usually, radon gas escapes into the atmosphere, where it mixes with the air and is diluted to harmless levels. The issue with radon is that it can become concentrated inside the home, where the radioactive particles are more likely to be breathed in and absorbed by the body.

Health Canada notes that some radon should be expected in almost every home across Canada, but it’s only through a home radon test that you will know whether or not you have dangerous levels. 

Radon Health Risk Issues

Why should I be worried about radon gas? Radon gas doesn’t cause acute health issues, but exposure over months and years can cause serious health problems and lead to cancer. Next to cigarette smoking, radon is the second most leading cause of lung cancer in Canadians and is responsible for at least 3000 deaths a year. 

Radon gas enters the lungs, where, as the particles decay, they cause inflammation and irritation to the lungs’ delicate tissues. Over time, these changes can cause lung cancer, but they can also cause secondary symptoms, like:

  • shortness of breath
  • coughing up blood
  • wheezing
  • chest pain
  • frequent respiratory infections

How to Test for Radon

In 2012, a national survey by Health Canada found that nearly 7% of homes they tested returned radon levels above the current safety guidelines. In this test, they found that households in every province were affected and that radon levels could fluctuate wildly within short ranges. 

Professional radon testing is the only way to know if your home is affected and if you are at risk of radon exposure. A home radon test is a small, non-invasive device placed in the lower levels of your home for months, which helps to average the high and low results caused by weather shifts and changes. 

If your home tests positive for high levels of radon gas, the good news is that there are many easy and inexpensive ways to lower your risk and protect yourself from exposure. During the coronavirus pandemic, a safe and healthy home environment is more important than ever — to book radon testing for your home, call us at 416-414-5690. 

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