I’ve been in real estate business in Toronto and the GTA for over 15 years and only a couple of weeks ago, for the first time ever, I’ve been asked by a homebuyer if the houses were tested for radon.
No doubts, I’ve heard that radon is harmful for your health, but didn’t pay enough attention to the issue, and then in daily routine simply forgot about it. … Until that question. And I’ve started researching.
To be honest with you, I’m surprised how serious the matter is.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, about 16% of lung cancer deaths are caused by radon exposure AT YOUR OWN HOME!!! It is estimated that 3,000 Canadians die every year from lung cancer caused by radon. Do you think that smoking is the only cause of lung cancer? Think twice! Actually, radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco. However, 96% of Canadians have not tested their homes for radon. Yet 51% of Canadians said they would move out if they knew that there was radon in their home.
Radon is a radioactive gas with symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is one of the densest substances that remains a gas under normal conditions. Radon is also the only gas under normal conditions that has radioactive isotopes, and is considered a health hazard due to its radioactivity.
Radon is not detectable by human senses because it is a colorless, odourless, and tasteless. So, the only way to know if you are at risk is to test your house for radon.
How radon gets into my house?
Radon gas occurs naturally as an indirect decay product of uranium or thorium in soil, rock and water. It can get into your house through cracks in foundation walls and in floor slabs, support posts, construction joints, gaps around pipes and drains, window casements … wherever it finds an opening. When radon enters an enclosed space it can accumulate to high concentrations.
Currently, the Canadian guideline for radon gas in indoor air is 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (200Bq/m3).
How do I test my house for radon?
To test your house for radon is simple and inexpensive. You have two options:
- You can buy a test kit, which costs between $30 and $60, and do it yourself.
- You can hire a certified radon measurement professional.
Health Canada recommends using a long-term test device for at least 3 months. The best time to test is between September and April, when your windows are mostly closed.
How to clean your house from radon?
There are special ventilation techniques and special certified radon mitigation professionals that can help you with the most effective radon reduction solution.
If you want to hire a certified professional, Health Canada recommends Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP), http://c-nrpp.ca/find-a-professional, 1-855-722-6777.
If you’d like to know more, there are some references below that could be interesting for you.