By Ry Clarke
Sunny South News
Health Canada is reminding Albertans to schedule annual testing for Radon in their homes. Radon is naturally occurring in the ground when uranium in the soil and rock breaks down creating an invisible, odourless gas. When radon is released above ground it becomes diluted and doesn’t pose a threat. However, radon gases can become deadly when enclosed in spaces like homes where it can accumulate up to high levels and cause serious health concerns. Radon can enter our homes through any opening in a home where there is contact with the ground like cracks in the foundation, ventilation, and floor drains.
“The radon concentrations do differ greatly across Canada,” Radiation Specialist for Health Canada Madison Pecoskie said.
Radon is found in areas where there are large concentrations of uranium in the ground. “If your home does have a high level of radon, there isn’t any need to worry about it. Radon mitigation is actually really easy… You want to get someone that’s certified by the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program.”
Technicians can come to your home and help you lower the home’s radon levels in just a day. Health Canada recommends all households test regularly for radon with either an at-home test kit or hiring a qualified tester. For home testing, it is recommended to place the kit in a low-level area of your house that you regularly use, checking it around four times a year.
The current guideline for average home radon levels is 200 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) which is an acceptable amount to be detected. Exceeding that number, residents should contact a professional certified in radon proficiency who can inspect the area and come up with solutions to reduce the radon in your home and take preventable measures to stop the levels from rising. “With the health zone that Lethbridge is in, the percentage of homes and radon levels over Health Canada’s guideline of 200 becquerels per cubic meter is about 8.9 per cent,” said Pecoskie.
Exposure to high levels of radon gas can cause serious health risks to your lungs with the potential to lead to cancer. Radon exposure is the main cause of lung cancer in non-smokers with the risk increasing the longer you are left exposed.
There is no cure to radon poisoning and the damage cannot be undone, but preventing the build-up of toxic levels in the home is the safest way to protect yourself and your family. A home test kit can help show how much radon is naturally occurring in your home. With help from a professional, you can look to seal up cracks and leaks in a home’s infrastructure to divert radon gases from entering.