INFORMATION ON RADON GAS
RADON is LINKED TO LUNG CANCER DEATHS
Uranium is everywhere, in all kinds of soil, and when it breaks down it produces a radioactive gas that is odourless, colourless and tasteless. This gas is radon.
RADON IN CANADA
In 2012 Health Canada released a report showing that 7 per cent of Ontario residents are living in homes with radon levels above the current Canadian guidelines of 200 becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3)
WHAT IS RADON
Radon is a radioactive gas that is produced naturally by the breakdown of uranium in the ground. Since radon can't be seen, smelled, or tasted, it can get into your home undetected. In outdoor air, radon is diluted and therefore not a concern. But in confined spaces like your house, radon can build up to high levels and become a health risk.
HOW DOES RADON GET INTO YOUR HOME?
For most of the year, the air pressure inside your home is lower than the pressure in the soil surrounding your foundation. This difference in pressure can draw air and other gases from the soil under the basement floor, including radon, into the house.
Air containing radon gas can enter your home even with poured concrete foundations, through cracks, floor drains, areas with exposed soil, openings for utility fixtures or support posts. At any opening where the house contacts the soil. These openings can be present even in well built and new houses.
YOUR HEALTH AND RADON
Radon Gas is a silent killer that claims 3,200 lives each year in Canada. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in Canada after smoking. (NON-SMOKERS)
The cost of testing for Radon is a small price to pay for peace of mind that your family is living in a safe environment.
RADON AND SMOKING
Radon exposure increases your risk of developing lung cancer. The number one cause of lung cancer is smoking.
The number 2 cause of lung cancer is Radon. If you smoke and are exposed to high levels of radon chances of getting lung cancer increases significantly to 1 in 3. Radon exposure is linked to approximately 16% of lung cancer deaths in Canada and is the second leading cause of lung cancer for smokers.
WHICH HOMES HAVE A PROBLEM?
All homes have radon, the question is how much does your have? A Guide for Canadian Homeowners states that the average home in Canada has 45Bq/3 of Radon. The levels can vary dramatically even between similar homes located next to each other. The amount of radon in a home will depend on many factors including:
• Soil Characteristics: Radon concentrations can vary enormously depending on the uranium content of the soil. As well, radon flows more easily through some soils than others, for example sand versus clay.
• Construction Type: The type of home and its design affect the amount of contact with the soil and the number and size of entry points for radon to enter the home.
• Foundation Condition: Foundations with numerous cracks and openings have more potential entry points for radon.
• Occupant Lifestyle: The use of exhaust fans, windows and fireplaces, for example, influences the pressure difference between the house and the soil. This pressure difference can draw radon indoors and influences the rate of exchange of outdoor and indoor air.
• Weather: Variations in weather (e.g., temperature, wind, barometric pressure, precipitation, etc.) can affect the amount of radon that enters a home.
Because there are so many factors, it is not possible to predict the radon level in a home; the only way to know for sure is to do a test for Radon.
DO I NEED TO REDUCE THE RADON LEVEL IN MY HOME?
If you’ve had your home tested, and the radon level is above the Canadian guideline of 200 Bq/m3 , Health Canada recommends that you take action to lower the level. The higher the radon concentrations, the sooner action should be taken to reduce levels to as low as practically possible. While the health risk from radon exposure may be below the Canadian Guideline, there is no safe level of radon, even low levels over a long period of time can cause Cancer. It is the choice of each homeowner to decide what level of radon exposure they are willing to accept. 200 Bq/m3 is the max level suggested by Health Canada before Remedial measures should be taken, but also clams no level is safe. Health Canada suggest that if levels are 200 - 600 Bq/m3 fix your home within 2 years Above 600 Bq/m3 fix your home within 1 year. (refer to other country’s at the bottom of this page)
IS YOUR HOME SAFE?
The cost of testing for Radon is a small price to pay for peace of mind that your family is living in a safe environment!
TARION HOME WARRANTY
If you have a newer home 7 years or less you should still be under the seven years Tarion Home Warranty, any mitigation requirements to lower the Radon levels may be covered under the TARION Warranty or by the builder. (Note: Check with Tarion to ensure coverage)
Mitigation costs can be high and after the warranty period is over the home owner will be responsible for these costs.
You will need to follow the claims procedure and fill out a Tarion claim form, this can take some time during the claim procedure so make sure you have all the documents filled out properly. A Short term radon test will give you an indication as to whether you have high Radon levels in your home, once high levels are determined you will need a long term (3 month during the heating season) Radon test. All testing will be required to be done by a certified C-NRPP radon professional before the builder or Tarion will approve to pay for the mitigation.
To learn more or to have your home Radon test done in your home call Dennis at 905-439-2070 or Dennis@DiscoveryHomeInspection.ca Dennis is certified with Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP)
We provide Radon Gas Testing by certified professionals for the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding areas including, Ajax, Pickering, Scarborough, Oshawa, Whitby, Clarington, Courtice, Bowmanville, Port Perry, Port Hope and Cobourg.
FYI; WHAT OTHER COUNTRIES ARE DOING ABOUT RADON:
In the U.K., home sellers must disclose if they live in a radon-affected area and provide a radon warning statement to the buyer. And several states in the U.S have similar requirements. The U.K. also requires landlords to have a hazard assessment done for properties in radon-affected areas. Depending on the severity of the risk determined by the assessment, the local housing authority is obligated to take appropriate enforcement action. It is not mandated yet in Canada for landlords to test for radon levels in ground level apartments but it may be coming soon.
Discovery Home Inspection
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