Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada, after smoking. Radon exposure is estimated to be the cause of 10% of lung cancers. The risk of getting lung cancer from radon depends mostly on three factors: the level of radon, the number of years of exposure, and smoking habits. The risks for developing lung cancer from radon exposure are greater for a smoker or someone exposed to second hand smoke.
We recommend that you test your home for radon, an invisible gas that can cause lung cancer. Radon test kits are available from the Lung Association of Saskatchewan for a cost of $50. The cost also includes the analysis from the Saskatchewan Research Council. These kits are easy to use and your results will be sent to you afterwards. If your home has high radon levels, you can repair it to block the radon.
What is radon?
Radon is an invisible, odourless gas that can seep into your home through cracks in floors, walls and foundations. You can't see radon. You can't smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home.
Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Radon gas escapes from the ground into the air outside. When radon mixes with the air outside, it’s not a problem: the outside air dilutes the amount of radon. But when radon seeps into a closed-in space like a house, it can become trapped inside. You and your family can breathe in high levels of radon, without knowing it. This can be harmful.
How does radon get into my home?
Radon can come out of the soil and water and seep into cracks and openings in your home, especially on the lower floor, basement, or crawlspace. Radon gas can get into your home through many openings, including:
Radon can get trapped inside your home, especially in basements and crawlspaces that don’t have good ventilation (air movement).
Is radon harmful?
Radon decays quickly, giving off tiny radioactive particles. When inhaled, these radioactive particles can damage the cells that line the lung. Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer.
How do I know if there’s radon in my home?
The only way to know if your home has radon is to test for it. You can’t see, smell, or taste radon.
Radon can be found all over Canada. There are parts of the country that tend to have more radon, and parts that tend to have less. A recent study by the Regina-Qu'Appelle Health Region conducted in 106 Regina homes at random, found 38 homes had radon levels higher Health Canada’s recommended guidelines. It’s impossible to know how much radon there is in your home unless you test for it. That's why everyone should test their home for radon.
Lung cancer patient urges homeowners to test for radon: Read Antonella’s story
How do I test my home for radon?
The Lung Association of Saskatchewan is now thrilled to announce that for $50, you can purchase a Radon kit from us, and the purchase price also includes the analysis! We are working in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Research Council who will analyse the Radon kits here in our home province! The kits can be ordered by calling the Lung Association of Saskatchewan at 1-306-343-9511, or by email email@example.com.
When should I test for radon?
It’s best to test for radon over the winter months, when there is less ventilation (less air movement) in your home. Test kits sold by the Lung Association of Saskatchewan are designed to test over a three month period, as per Health Canada’s recommendations.
What do I do if the test results show that I have radon in my home?
What you do depends on how much radon there is. Radon is measured in Becquerel’s per cubic metre (Bq/m3).
How do I repair my home to lower its level of radon?
Radon can come into your home through: sump pumps, cracks in foundations, spaces around pipes, unfinished floors, and other places. To solve your radon problem, you need an expert to find out where exactly the radon is getting in. A trained contractor with experience in radon mitigation (radon repairs) can examine your home, find where the radon is seeping in, and make the necessary repairs.
Repairs may include actions such as:
Who should I hire to repair my home to lower the radon level?
You should hire an experienced, reputable contractor to repair your home. Right now, there is no certification program in Canada for radon mitigation (repair) contractors. Health Canada is planning one, but it’s hasn’t been developed yet. In the meantime, Health Canada recognizes the certification programs offered in the United States through either the National Environmental Health Association or the National Radon Safety Board. Both organizations operate a certification program for contractors who offer radon measurement and mitigation services to the public. Health Canada encourages Canadians to use a contractor who is certified by one of these programs.
Radon Mitigation in Saskatchewan: www.dafradonsolutions.ca
How much will it cost for radon repairs?
It usually costs between $500 and $3000 to repair your home to block radon from getting inside.
Health Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation have produced a booklet called Radon - A Guide for Canadian Homeowners.
For more information on occupational concerns, go to The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety - and search for radon (http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/phys_agents/radon.html)