Radon Misconceptions

Common Radon Misconceptions and Assumptions 

We've heard it said, perhaps you have too...

Radon gas is a naturally occurring soil gas present throughout the world. Some studies have been completed on geographic mapping and thus far Alberta and Saskatchewan are amongst the second most exposed radon population world wide (see our Research page). Regardless of where you live radon gas is present in some concentration dependent on the uranium deposits below your home. Certain regions may overall have lower levels but even in such areas unusual deposits can exist. Even adjacent houses can have drastically different readings. The only way to know your risk is to test.

Testing for radon is a great first step, it’s important however to make sure you follow a few important points. Health Canada recommends the use of a long- term test kit to obtain radon measurement readings over a minimum of 3 winter months at the lowest lived-in level of the home. Make sure the test type which you purchase is approved by Health Canada is from a reputable company with a strict quality control policy to ensure accuracy of readings. Long term testing should be repeated every 5 years to account for ground changes. Likewise if you already have a radon mitigation system installed.

Radon gas can enter your home regardless of its age or structure type. No matter the type, quality or age of your home, radon can accumulate at unacceptable levels. New homes built after 1992 have a higher overall chance of high radon due in part to bigger overall size footprint, a reduction in the use of concrete in new home construction, airtightness of newer windows and doors, and a lower overall quality of aggregates available for use.

Health Canada recommends action be taken to lower radon levels for homes measuring above 200Bq/m3 within two years and one year for homes measuring over 600Bq/m3. World Health Organization states that action should be taken for homes measuring over 100Bq/m3 with reference level not to exceed 300Bq/m3. Radon gas exposure is cumulative. The less radon gas you are exposed to the better, if at all possible reduce your radon gas levels to as low as possible.

The National Building Code recently changed to adopt radon-mitigation preventative measures in new home construction. The radon pipe you see in the basement of your home is the start of a passive system. If installed correctly, an air barrier has been included along with a seal of the building envelope. The protruding pipe is accessible for future radon mitigation system installation - if needed. While beneficial, the system in place is non-operational and must be tested to ensure it has been correctly installed. Please contact us should you have questions about your home’s rough-in pipe.

There are no warning signs or symptoms of radon exposure. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Risk of lung cancer increases by 16% per every 100Bq/m3 . It’s important to take preemptive action to reduce these risks as much as possible.

Radon awareness is increasing. While consumers are becoming more educated surrounding radon exposure and its health hazards, mitigation is easy and affordable. Many realtors have found the presence of a radon mitigation system to be a positive to buyers. Remember - every home can be mitigated to safe radon levels. A home with a active radon mitigation system is much safer than a untested home, and in addition there may be other benefits to a radon system.

Radon has only been conclusively proven to cause lung cancer. Limiting your overall exposure in your home is a great way to protect yourself and your loved ones but any symptoms you may be encountering are not a result of radon exposure. Active sub-slab depressurization systems may help limit other soil gases from entering your home but if you are experiencing headaches, nausea or other adverse health effects you should consult your doctor.