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3 radon detectors - Image: Health Canada

Health Canada says radon testing needs to be taken seriously

By Regis Phillips Nov 22, 2023 | 4:13 PM

Radon is an orderless, tasteless, and invisible radioactive gas that’s the second-highest cause of lung cancer among Canadians.

As part of Radon Action Month, Health Canada is encouraging people to test for radon in their homes.

You can acquire a testing kit on your own or have a professional look after the testing for you.

“Place your testing kit in the lowest-lived level of your home. If you have a basement but don’t plan on turning the basement into a living space with bedrooms then place the testing kit on the first floor,” said Kelley Bush, manager of Health Canada’s radon outreach and stakeholder engagement team.

“The testing kit also says it shouldn’t be placed near air ducts, in bathrooms or kitchens, and testing for radon is only done once but should be tested again if any renovations are done to the home.”

Radon comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and becomes diluted when it’s released into the air.

It doesn’t usually cause a problem, but in enclosed spaces like homes, it can accumulate to high levels and become a risk to the health of you and your family.

Health Canada estimates that about 10 per cent of Canadian homes likely have high levels of radon.

Bush said radon mitigation kits can be purchased if it’s confirmed that your house has high levels of the gas.

Exposure to high levels of radon can lead to shortness of breath, a new or worsening cough, pain or tightness in the chest, hoarseness, or trouble swallowing.

Learn more about radon testing kits by clicking here.

Levels of Radon found in Canadian homes (Circa 2016) – Image: Statistics Canada