What is Radon?

| November 2022


Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the decay of uranium in soil, rock and water. It is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas and when inhaled radon continues to breakdown into radioactive elements that can be harmful to the lungs.

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Where is Radon Found?

Outdoors, radon is diluted to concentrations that pose very little risk; however, radon can accumulate to harmful levels in enclosed environments. Radon can enter a building through small cracks and openings where there is contact with the soil. Basements, crawlspaces, and poorly ventilated ground floors are all possible locations for elevated radon levels, as radon is heavier than air and tends to settle and accumulate in lower levels over time.

Why is Radon a Problem?

Radon exposure is associated with lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung-cancer in Canada and smokers exposed to radon have an even high risk of lung cancer. Health Canada estimates approximately 3,200 Canadians die every year from radon exposure. At low levels, radon does not pose a significant hazard however prolonged exposure to elevated levels subsequently damages DNA in our lung tissues which can lead to lung cancer.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk?

Since radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, you may be exposed at your workplace as well as at home. The only way to know if elevated radon levels are present in your workplace or home is to test for radon. The best time to test for radon is during the winter months when warmer indoor air pulls more radon gas from the cool soil outside, and closed windows result in less natural ventilation to dilute radon levels.

How can ECOH help?

ECOH has Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP) Certified Radon Measurement Professionals on our team. Our certified professionals are able to:

  • Assess your building for potential radon issues.
  • Develop a plan for a radon testing program.
  • Install radon test kits in appropriate areas or use direct read instrumentation to measure radon levels.
  • Determine recommendations for mitigating radon levels, if necessary.

Contact ECOH today to talk about testing for radon in your facility, workplace, or home.

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