Category: 
Renovate Right
Answer: 

Yes! Radon is a naturally occurring colourless, odourless gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It can enter your home through cracks or gaps on the lower floor, basement, or crawlspace such as openings for basement windows, pipes, sump pumps, or cracks in the basement floor or foundation.

Radon is found all over Canada at varying levels. Health Canada and the Canadian Lung Association recommend that everyone test their home for radon since your radon level could be quite different than in other parts of the country or even in your neighbour’s house. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Your risk of lung cancer is even greater if you are exposed to high levels of radon and you smoke or are exposed to second hand smoke.

Energy retrofits and some home renovation work will seal a home more tightly to reduce energy loss. Also, some energy efficiency work, such as installing ventilation fans, may create negative pressure in a home and can draw radon into the home from the surrounding soil. Even if you have already checked your home for radon, it is a good idea to check radon levels after energy retrofit work has been completed.

Testing your home for radon is easy. Buy a radon test kit at a hardware or home improvement store or on-line. Be sure to buy a kit that does a long term test (over several weeks not several days) for the most accurate results. Do the test between October and April.

You can also order a test kit from provincial branches of the Lung Association of Canada. They will also send you helpful educational materials.

For more information: Provincial offices of the Lung Association that sell test kits include British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, though any will ship to other provinces. 

Take the Lung Association Radon Quiz: http://www.lung.ca/protect-protegez/pollution-pollution/indoor-interieur/radon-radon_e.php

Answer Author: 
Kathleen Cooper
Answer Author's Email: 
kcooper@cela.ca