Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can seep into a home from the surrounding soil and bedrock. It is odorless and cannot be detected, except by specialized testing methods. The concern about radon is increased risk of developing lung cancer. Many homes in Canada contain some level of radon. The current Health Canada guideline indicates that indoor radon levels should not exceed 200 Bq per m3 of indoor air.
Radon testing is fairly simple and affordable. An E-PERM radon collector is installed to monitor the levels. The collector is a small, unobtrusive, noiseless component which has no moving parts. It is easily deployed at home and requires no special training. A simple set of instructions explains how to open and close the unit and where to place the collector to get the best results. At the end of the sampling period the E-PERM monitor is simply mailed back to our lab to determine how much radon was collected.
Health Canada and The Radiation Safety Institute recommend long-term tests (3 months) for the best results, but short term testing (1 week) can also be performed. The ideal time for testing is during the winter in the heating season when houses are closed and radon is more likely to accumulate.
If high levels of radon are detected in a house, steps can be taken to eliminate it. Getting the house tested is a first step. Fixing the problem can usually be done at a reasonable cost.