New materials for the child care sector! Adaptable mini-poster to announce radon testing in your centre; sample letters to inform client families about radon test results (below guideline letter; above guideline letter)
Radon is a radioactive gas that is produced naturally from uranium in rock and soil. Radon gas can move into your home through cracks or gaps in your foundation. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon in indoor air increases your risk of developing lung cancer.
In fact, long-term exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and it is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
You can’t see, taste or smell radon. The only way to know the level of radon in your home is to test for it.
Use a simple, three-month radon test kit to find out the radon level in your home. You can buy a test kit at some hardware stores, from provincial chapters of the Lung Association or online. Typically, the test involves placing the radon measurement device on a surface in the lowest lived-in level of your home, leaving it in place for a minimum of three months and then mailing it to the lab for analysis. Your results will be sent to you by mail or e-mail. You can also hire a radon measurement professional to perform a radon test for you. Health Canada recommends taking action when the level of radon in your home is above 200 bequerels per cubic metre of air. (A bequerel is a measure of radioactive decay.)
If the test shows you have a high radon level, you should take action to reduce the amount of radon in your home. The higher the level of radon, the sooner you should take action. Depending on your situation, options are to:
- Hire a certified radon contractor to install an Active Sub-Slab Depressurization system, which is a small exhaust fan that draws the radon from below the concrete floor slab and vents it through a pipe to the outdoors. This is the solution that is most likely to be effective in reducing radon to acceptable levels.
- Increase the ventilation in your home by hiring a contractor to install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or by optimizing the use of an existing ventilation system.
- Seal all cracks and openings in foundation walls and floors.
Do not allow anyone to smoke inside your home. Exposure to cigarette smoke combined with high radon levels significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer. A person who has had long-term exposure to high radon levels has a 1 in 20 chance of developing lung cancer. When combined with exposure to cigarette smoke, the risk of developing lung cancer increases to 1 in 3.
Want to learn more?
Health Canada: Radon Reduction Guide for Canadians.
CPCHE: Reduce radon. Attractive tip card with simple guidance for families.
Health Canada: Radon: Is It In My Home? Website with practical information on radon, its health risks, guidance on radon testing and options for reducing radon levels in your home.
Health Canada: How to Fix My Radon Problem. Webpage with information on the various options for reducing radon levels in your home.
Health Canada: Radon: Another Reason to Quit. Website about the increased lung cancer risk associated with exposure to high radon when combined with exposure to cigarette smoke:
Health Canada: Quit Now. Resources to help with smoking cessation, including a directory to help you find services in your local area.
Health Canada: Reducing Radon Levels in Existing Homes: A Canadian Guide for Professional Contractors This free guide was developed by Health Canada in partnership with experts in radon reduction.
Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program provides a list of certified radon professionals for radon measurement and remediation.
CPCHE, Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, Health Canada, The Lung Association, Parachute: Home Safety for your KIDS' Sake: Check It Today campaign