Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks and water. Since a typical home’s air pressure is lower than the pressure in the soil around its foundation, the home acts as a vacuum and draws radon in through any cracks or gaps.
Homeowners like you can be exposed to radon primarily from breathing it in along with the air that comes through these cracks and gaps. When you breathe in radon, radioactive particles from radon gas get trapped in your lungs, which can lead to lung cancer. Health Canada estimates that 16 percent of lung cancer deaths are related to being exposed to radon in the home.
- Get your home tested for radon if it has never been tested before or if it’s been two years since the last test. If you’ve renovated your house since it was last tested for radon, have it tested again.
- Order a radon testing kit by mail from a qualified radon measurement service provider or local hardware store. Otherwise, consider hiring a qualified radon tester—often a home inspector.
- Install a radon mitigation system to protect your household from radon dangers. A qualified radon reduction contractor can often install a system in less than a day. If your home’s water source has high levels of radon as well, install a point-of-entry treatment device to reduce emissions.
Any home can have a radon problem — this includes new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes and homes with or without basements. You cannot predict radon levels based on province, local and neighbourhood radon measurements.
Contact your province’s radon office for more information about radon risks in your area. For additional home safety information, Access Insurance Group Ltd is here to answer all your questions.