Blog by: Mark Diplock, Lead Inspector at Mike Holmes Inspections I’ve been asked this question...
The Dangers Of Radon
Tuesday, September 11th, 2018 @ 3:23pm
Radon is a gas that comes from uranium in the ground.
Uranium is everywhere, in all kinds of soil, and when it breaks down it produces a radioactive gas that is odourless, colourless and tasteless. This gas is radon.
When radon gas is released into the atmosphere, it gets diluted. But if it finds its way into your home it can accumulate into higher concentrations, and that’s when it can become dangerous. What are some effects of radon?
What are the risks?
Radon is present everywhere. It is just a matter of how much is in your home.
Being exposed to high doses of radon over a long period of time is a huge health risk. According to Health Canada, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. In fact, it is estimated that 16 percent of all lung cancer deaths in Canada are related to radon.
How much is too much?
While certain areas are known to be more prone to higher levels of radon, there is no way of knowing the levels in your home without testing. For that reason it is recommended that all homes be tested for radon.
The current national guideline is a maximum of 200 becquerels per cubic metre or 200 Bq/m3. (Becquerels are units used to measure radioactive concentration.) But according to Health Canada, it is estimated that 7 percent of all Canadians live in homes that have radon levels higher than the national guideline.
Entry points for Radon
- Cracks in walls & floors
- Loose pipe fittings & support posts
- Floor drains & sump pumps
- Wall & floor joints
- Ground water
How does radon get into your home?
Radon is a gas, so it can easily seep into your home through floors, pipes, windows, sumps and cracks in foundation walls. But it can even penetrate through foundation walls because concrete is porous.
The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test for it. One house can have radon levels next to zero while the house next door can be off the charts.
These levels also fluctuate depending on the weather, humidity and even time of year.
For example, during the winter when windows and doors are kept shut for the most part, radon can accumulate in the home. This is why radon levels tend to be higher in the winter—and for that same reason, why winter is the best time to test for radon.