What is Radon?
Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas. It is produced naturally in the environment when uranium in rock and soil breaks down. Radon gas released directly from the ground into the outdoor environment is diluted to low levels. Radon can enter a building anywhere there is an opening in contact with the soil. Radon gas can also enter a building through cracks and openings where the foundation is in contact with the soil. It can build up to high concentrations in poorly ventilated areas, like basements.
Radon gas is found at low levels in almost every home. It is estimated that 4.6 % of Ontarians live in homes with radon levels above the current Canadian radon guideline of 200 Bq/m3 (Source: Public Health Ontario)
Why is radon a health concern?
Radon gas can become a health risk if it is able to buildup to high levels. These risks do not come from immediate exposure, but from long-term exposure to high levels of radon.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking, and is responsible for almost 850 lung cancer deaths in Ontario each year (Source: Public Health Ontario). Exposure to radon does not produce any immediate symptoms, like coughing or headaches, so you may not realize you have been exposed. This is why it’s important to test your home for radon levels.
If you are a smoker and exposed to radon, your risk of lung cancer increases. Reducing your exposure to radon and other risk factors (e.g. smoking) will greatly reduce your risk