How to protect the health of your family from the risks of radon exposure

The BC Lung Association says you can find out if there are high levels of cancer-causing radon gas in your home and how to fix it. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking.

What is radon?

A gas produced naturally by the breakdown of uranium in the ground, it can get into your home completely undetected. The most dangerous characteristic of radon is you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. The only way to know the radon level in your home is to take a simple and inexpensive test. To help raise public awareness, the BC Lung Association has created RadonAware.ca, a website focused exclusively on the issue of radon, where radon home test kits can be ordered and mitigation advice can be found.

The Association suggests all homeowners test their home’s radon levels. Levels of radioactive radon gas particles are measured in units called Becquerels per metre cubed (Bqm3). Anything above 200 Bq/m3 is considered unsafe by Health Canada and potentially harmful – but note: there is no safe level of radon.

If your test result indicates radon levels above the Health Canada guideline of 200 Bq/m3, the problem is not difficult to fix. A certified radon mitigation professional can be hired to determine the most effective mitigation system for your home and estimate the associated costs.

How serious is the health risk?

For non-smokers living in homes with high radon levels, one in 20 may develop lung cancer in their lifetime; risk of lung cancer for smokers increases to one in three.

How can I test my home for radon?

Radon test kits are inexpensive, easy to use and are available to purchase through the BC Lung Association’s RadonAware.ca website. 

To test your home, simply place the radon detector [about the size of your palm] in the lowest lived in level [Health Canada suggests a room occupied for at least 4 hours per day] and allow it to sit for at least three months (ideally in the fall and winter months when windows and doors are closed and people are spending more time indoors).

A 3 month test takes into account fluctuations in radon levels over time and provides for a more accurate measurement. At the end of the three month test period, you send your radon kit to a laboratory for analysis and they will get back to you with your results. 

What if my home’s radon levels are high?

If your home’s levels are high (above 200 Bq/m3), Health Canada recommends you mitigate in order to reduce radon levels in your home. You can do the work yourself, or you can hire a Certified Radon Mitigation Professional. 

Find out more about the risks of radon and radon mitigation by visiting the RadonAware.ca website.

Media Contact

Britt Swoveland
RadonAware Manager, BC Lung Association
T: 250.686.1597 E: radonaware@bc.lung.ca
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Page Last Updated: 07/01/2016