Indoor air quality is increasingly coming to the forefront of discussions on the effects of environment on human health. Consider the role of radon.
Radon is a colourless and odourless gas that’s completely undetectable to human senses. It can be produced by the environment surrounding your home, or even by certain products and materials inside the house. It’s also estimated to be the cause of about 10% of all lung cancers, and is considered the second highest source of the disease. To top off the alarming news, radon almost certainly already exists in your home.
So what can you do about it? Education and information are your keys, along with radon testing & inspections performed by the experts.
What is Radon?
Radon is a gas that is produced naturally during the decaying process of uranium. There are traces of uranium all over the globe in a wide range of areas, and it can exist in the underlying rock bed in varying concentrations. It may also be present in small amounts in some building materials, including concrete, bricks, tiles and gyproc. Your granite countertop may contain trace amounts of uranium. As time goes by, it begins to decay and break down, producing compounds that humans and animals may inhale.
Radon seeps into your home through any cracks that may exist, and particularly where the house has contact with the soil, including basements and foundations, the joints of gas and water connections, and other areas.
Some areas may be more prone to radon gas exposure than others, including:
- Areas where the rock bed is uranium-rich
- Hills or slopes
- Areas where the ground forms deep cracks during dry weather
- Very permeable soils
- Areas with underground limestone caverns
Radon is present virtually everywhere on the earth, however, and it’s not possible to tell if your home is prone simply by assessing the area. You’ll need actual radon inspection & testing to know for sure.
How can I minimize the risk of Radon contamination?
Outside, randomly occurring radon gas is typically quickly diluted and made harmless by the natural passage of air. Inside the home, poor ventilation is the main cause for radon gas to collect and concentrate to dangerous levels. Ensuring proper ventilation is your first and most important step.
Here are some other tips:
- Help to reduce emissions from the ground up by sealing and caulking any cracks, holes and fissures in your basement floor and walls
- Paint your basement floor with two coats of paint and a sealer – unfinished floors are at risk of radon gas seeping in
- Increase ventilation by simply opening windows and allowing air to circulate
Radon Inspection & Testing
Radon levels can vary even in the same location depending on the season, climate, and HVAC systems you use. At Environmental Services Group, we recommend that you test during the cooler months of the year – from October to April – and Health Canada recommends that testing continue for a three month period. We strongly suggest you include radon testing in your pre-purchase home inspection.
You’ll never know if there’s a radon problem in your house unless you take the test.
Environmental Services Group is a cutting edge environmental consulting firm based in Toronto and servicing both the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario. We provide state-of-the-art, industry-leading expertise in identifying and remedying environmental hazards such as radon gas, mold, lead, asbestos and much more. Call 416-575-6111 or visit our website today for a pressure-free initial consultation. You’ll be glad you did!
Radon: A Guide for Canadian Homeowners (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation)