Radon

What is Radon? Radon is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless gas that seeps out of the ground, into basements and moves to other areas of a building or home.  It can be found in soils and rocks containing uranium, graphite, granite, shale, phosphate and pitchblende.

Why is Radon a Problem? Radon decays into radioactive elements known as 'radon progeny' or 'radon daughters'.  Radioactive daughters float around in the air attached to dust particles.  When inhaled, the particles find their way into the bronchial air passages and stick to the surface.   When these particles also change (“decay”), they emit a tiny burst of radiation that damages cells inside your lungs.  The result can be an increased risk of lung cancer.

Radon is second only to smoking as a cause of lung cancer.  Breathing in 4 Pico Curies/L (pCi/L) (this is the international action level) of radon is equated to smoking half a pack of cigarettes per day or receiving over 200 chest x-rays per year.  The EPA has found that radon is responsible for over 20,000 deaths per year in the US.  Health Canada estimates that over 1,600 Canadians die each year from exposure to radon in their homes.  The effect of radon exposure is long term.  It does not normally make people feel poorly on a day-to-day basis.

Where is Radon Found?  Radon is prevalent in most parts of the country and is present in Ontario.  In the Ottawa area we have found pockets of high radon in Kanata, Carp, West Carleton, Chelsea, Wakefield.  Health Canada is now on a project to map the radon areas of Canada.

Radon Testing  The House Doc uses continuous radon monitors that data log at one hour intervals the radon concentration levels.  Homes need to be in a closed home state for 24 hrs prior to the test and for the duration of the 48 hrs test.  Our reports are geared to providing the solutions to reduce radon levels if the tests detect unsafe concentrations.  Our testing is designed primarily for real estate transactions.  Home owners have the option of using longer term testing kits.  Health Canada recommends a minimum of 30 days time.  Check the Links page for suppliers of do it yourself radon test kits.

613-297-2996  paul@thehousedoc.ca

© The House Doc 2011