Radon & Your Health
Radon is a radioactive, invisible and odourless gas that occurs naturally in the environment. When radon is released from the ground outside, it is diluted and is not a concern. However, in buildings it can sometimes accumulate to high levels, which can pose a health risk.
- Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and the second largest cause of lung cancer among people who smoke.
- An estimated seven per cent of buildings in Toronto, including homes, workplaces and schools, have levels of radon that may pose a health risk but there is no way to predict which buildings have high levels.
- If radon levels are lowered below the Canadian radon guideline of 200 Bq/m3, 10 deaths related to radon exposure could be prevented each year in Toronto.
To test your home for radon, you have two options: buy a do-it-yourself test kit or hire a professional. You can buy a radon test kit online or from many home improvement stores. The radon test kits include instructions on how to set up the test and to send it back to a lab for analysis once the testing period is over.
When purchasing a radon test kit, be sure that it is a long-term test kit (one that measures radon levels in your home for at least three months). It is also important to find out if the purchase price includes shipping and laboratory analysis fees.
If the level of radon is higher than 200 Bq/m3 you can hire a professional who may use simple measures such as sealing a sump pump and/or opening and filling cracks in the foundation to lower radon levels.
For newly built homes in Ontario, home warranty protection covers some costs related to measures to reduce radon in homes.