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Quick Facts on Radon Gas

Many of our clients are concerned about radon gas, here is a short article written by the experts at RadonCare to cover the commonly asked questions:

 

Have You Tested Your Home for Radon?

Fall has arrived once again and with it more than just the welcome crunchy leaves and sometimes contentious pumpkin spice debates we have come to expect. Heating season is upon us and with it, radon testing. While many are unfamiliar with radon gas, awareness is increasing.

So What Exactly is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring, carcinogenic gas. It exists in varying concentrations and distributions throughout the world. Radon is both colorless and odorless – you can’t smell it, you can’t see it and you can’t feel it – yet it’s radioactive and potentially deadly.

Radon gas primarily enters building through basement floors and walls. That may be through a unfinished dirt floor, or through cracks in a concrete pad, or through drains and sump pits,  permeating a slab or other routes. Indoor radon gas concentrations increase during the winter months when we close our windows, turn on the furnace and reach for the nearest hot beverage. The reason for this is a phenomena known as the stack effect –  a difference in pressure that builds up between the air in our houses and the air outside. This pressure creates a small vacuum that sucks soil gases from below into living spaces, allowing them to build up to potentially deadly concentrations.

What Is the Risk of exposure to high Concentrations of Radon?

While there is current research indicating radon may be partially to blame for a variety of  neurological diseases – everything from Multiple Sclerosis to Alzheimer’s disease to Parkinson Disease, the only currently well established and globally accepted health link from high radon exposure is lung cancer. The lung cancer link alone is enough that health Canada and global health agencies are starting to take radon exposure very seriously. Lung cancer is one of the deadliest form of cancer in terms of survival rates and the single deadliest form of cancer in terms mortality count.  High radon levels alone have been linked to a 1 in 20 chance of developing lung cancer. For a smokers living in high radon environment these odds are as high as 1 in 3.

How do I know if I have a radon problem?

First thing you need to do is test. A simple to use, health Canada approved test kit can be purchased locally from http://radoncare.ca/test.

Health Canada’s recommendation is to test for  period of no less than a 3 months to accurately assess the radon risk In your home.  You hang a small, non intrusive device in your home and at the completion of the test send it to an analysis laboratory. About 2 weeks after that you’ll receive the results.

What If I have High Radon?

Radon mitigation technology is well established. No matter how high your radon levels, every home can be mitigated and usually to levels that are comparable to outdoor levels. If you have a radon problem, some local mitigation companies including local partnering company RadonCare will provide free estimates. Systems generally range in cost from $1,700 – $3,500 depending on various characteristics of the home. With minor maintenance a system can last a lifetime unless there are major structural changes made to a home.

Article written by Andrew Arshinoff, owner of RadonCare.