Five things you need to know about radon gas
OTTAWA -- You may not have heard much about radon gas since your last high school chemistry class.
If it’s been a long time since then, a reminder: radon is a gas at the bottom right of the periodic table.
The government of Canada is more concerned about where it could be in your home, and that the levels are safe.
November is Radon Awareness month. For Arthur Ladouceur, every day is about generating radon awareness.
“This radioactive gas is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers,” Ladouceur says. “So 16 per cent of all lung cancers are related to radon. That was 3,200 last year.”
For the past 14 years through Radon Works, Ladouceur and co-owner Rob Mahoney have worked to help people understand radon, encourage testing and—if necessary—install a radon extrication system to get rid of it.
“Only about three per cent of the population knows about radon, “ says Ladouceur. “It is a naturally occurring gas, that’s invisible, odourless and tasteless. It comes from uranium in soil and rock and it’s in every home. We only worry, when the levels are too high.”
Ladouceur says it all depends on your geology. Certain areas in the capital region are known to have higher levels. He says Chelsea and Wakefield, Que., and Kanata are the most common areas in the capital region where radon can sometimes be an issue.
The team has installed about three thousand extraction systems in the Ottawa area.
“You can be fine in your home and your neighbours may have high levels,” he said. “It’s so easy to test. You can purchase radon tests at most hardware stores. And it can be a very easy fix. When we go into a home, we approach it as it is our home.
“Often by sealing cracks, and ensuring the radon cannot get into the home, the issue can be solved.”
Unlike with other gases, the symptoms of radon poisoning don't show up right away. Instead, health problems from exposure show up years later.
Five things to know about radon
- Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the uranium in the soil.
- Every home has a measurable amount. It is only a concern if your level is above 200.
- It is very simple and inexpensive to test.
- Not every home needs an active system. Sometimes it’s as simple as sealing cracks in the basement, or installing a proper sump cover to reduce the potential pathways for Radon entry.
- Now that we are spending more time in our homes it is more important than ever to test for Radon Gas
To learn more, you can call 1-866-225-0709 or visit canada.ca/radon.