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What Is Radon?

What Is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas occurring naturally in the environment. It has no color, no odor and no taste. It is released into the air during the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Once released, radon breaks down into radioactive elements that can attach to dust and other substances in the air we breathe. In this article, we will explain why exactly what is radon, how to test for it and how to mitigate against it.

What is Radon and Why Is It Dangerous?

Radon escapes from the ground into the air, where it decays and produces further radioactive particles. As we breathe, these particles are deposited on the cells lining the airways, where they can damage DNA and potentially cause lung cancer.

According to Health Canada, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. In fact, it is responsible for 17% of all lung cancer deaths in Canada each year, exceeding that of asbestos.

If you are a smoker and you live in a home with a high level of radon, you are at an even higher risk for lung cancer.

Have your home tested for radon today!

Radon and Lung Cancer

According to the World Health Organization, an increased rate of lung cancer was first seen in uranium miners exposed to high concentrations of radon gas. Studies in Europe, North America and China have confirmed that even low concentrations of radon also pose significant health risks.

Health Canada’s radon action guideline is 200 Bq/m3, but other areas have set different limits. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a limit of 100 to 300 Bq/m3 and the United States has a limit of 148 Bq/m3.

If the level of radon is above 200 Bq/m3, you should work with a C-NRPP certified professional to lower the levels in your home. Even if the radon levels are below 200 Bq/m3, you may still want to try to get them lower.

Where is Radon Most Commonly Found?

Radon In The Home

Radon can enter a home through pipes, windows, sump pumps, unfinished floors, crawl spaces, cracks in foundation walls and floors. Radon can even seep through foundation walls. Remember, concrete is porous and radon is a gas. That means it can penetrate through the tiny holes in a home’s foundation walls.

Underground

If you work underground, such as in a subway or tunnel, you may be at high risk of
radon exposure.

Outside

Outdoor air also contains some radon. Radon levels outdoors or in the open air are usually very low (between 5 and 15 Bq/m3) since the radon gas is constantly diluted by fresh air. Because of this, radon gas doesn’t build up to levels high enough to pose a health risk.

Radon In Water

It’s rare, but radon can also be found in water. Radon can also seep into your home through your well water. So if you live in a home that uses a well, make sure to have your water tested as well as your air.

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How To Test Your Home For Radon?

The only way to know how much radon is in your home is to test it. Homeowners are encouraged to test for radon and book a radon test with one of our Mike Holmes home inspectors who are certified by the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP), in order to ensure accurate test results.

Short-Term Testing

A short-term tester is placed in the lower level of the home, a basement for example, for 3 days. Then the tester is picked up by the inspector and sent to the lab for analysis. Test results are back within 3 -5 days and are sent to you electronically. Getting a short- term radon test is a quick way to screen a home for radon – the test will highlight whether further investigation or mitigation is required.

Radon Testing with Mike Holmes Inspections

Our Mike Holmes home Inspectors are fully trained professionals, certified by the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (Canadian-NRPP). Mike Holmes Inspections is also a recognized certified C-NRPP lab where we do our own in-house analysis in order that you can receive your results quicker. Radon testing is included with a Premium Home Inspection.

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The Mike holmes' inspection goes even further beyond the basics. Protect not only your family's safety but also their health by testing for Radon.

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How Often Should You Test Your Home?

Health Canada suggests testing your home for radon every two years or so, to ensure that your level or radon hasn’t spiked to dangerous levels. Even if you’ve taken steps to mitigate radon in your home, for peace of mind, you should still perform another test.

READ NEXT: How To Mitigate Radon In Your Home

Not all Specialty & Add-on services are available in all areas, please contact us at 1-888-563-5699 for more information.

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Homebuyers should expect quality and integrity in a home inspection and you will get it with a Mike Holmes Inspection.

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