Does your home pass the test?

November 3, 2015

It’s in virtually every home…
It causes cancer…
You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it…
It’s a radioactive gas that seeps into your home and can accumulate to dangerous levels…

So what is it? And, how can you protect your family?

Radon Rn The culprit is radon gas. It’s a naturally occurring gas produced from rocks and soil, and when it enters your home, it breaks down to produce radioactive particles. When radon gas is inhaled, it interacts with the lining of your lungs and causes DNA-damage, leading to lung cancer. Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Two doctors looking at lung xray

Almost 18% of homes tested within the city of Guelph reported high levels of radon in their homes. That is more than double the national average of 7% of homes reporting high levels of radon. So it is especially important that residents of the counties of Wellington and Dufferin and the city of Guelph test their homes for radon gas.

How can you learn more about radon gas and how do you to test for it?

On Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 Public Health is partnering with the City of Guelph and Health Canada to host an Information Session: Testing for Radon Gas in Your Home. You are invited to drop-in between 4:30pm - 7:00pm to ask experts about radon, purchase a test kit at a discounted rate, and have the chance to win a free radon test kit!

The City of Guelph recently launched a Radon Gas Mitigation Program which requires all homes built after Sept. 1, 2015 to install one of three radon gas mitigation options. The city will also provide free radon testing for homeowners of new low-rise residential buildings for the next two years. Any home purchased within the last seven years is covered under the Tarion warranty, so if your home tests above the Health Canada action level of 200Bq/m3, the cost to reduce the radon levels will be covered under the warranty. If you own a new home, you are welcome to come to our event and speak with the City of Guelph about this fantastic and free program!

If you aren’t eligible for free radon testing, you have the option to purchase a do-it-yourself radon test kit or hire a Certified Radon Professional. Since almost every home will have some radon gas, it is very important to find out how much radon exists in your own home. If the levels are high, there are several options on how to lower the amount of radon in your home. Since it is a gas, you can pump it out, block its entry, and ventilate the area. The cost of fixing the problem is comparable to other home repairs, such as replacing a furnace or air conditioner.
Hot water heater and furnace The risk from radon exposure is long-term and depends on:

  • The level of radon
  • How long you are exposed
  • Your smoking habits

If you are a smoker and are exposed to high levels of radon, you have a 1 in 3 chance of developing lung cancer. A non-smoker exposed to high levels of radon has a 1 in 20 of developing lung cancer.

So if anyone in your home is a smoker, or has smoked in the past, it’s especially important to test your home for radon gas.

Radon is a radioactive gas present in homes…
It causes lung cancer…
It’s easy to measure and can be fixed…
If you are considering testing your home, autumn is a great time because windows and doors are closed.

Stephanie Shih