December 7, 2015
348 Radon Testing [7 Dec 2015]
My house is being tested for radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that is produced by the breakdown of uranium in the ground. It can seep into your home through cracks in the basement walls or floor and become concentrated at low levels (think basement floor). Because radon is odorless and colorless, it is not detectable except by instruments.
It is important to know your radon level because it is a significant health hazard. Next to smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US and Canada. An estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in Canada are caused by radon. The combination of smoking and radon is most deadly. A non-smoker exposed to high levels of radon over a lifetime has about a 1 in 20 chance of developing lung cancer; for a smoker that increases to 1 in 3. So if you have smokers living in your home, it is even more important to have it tested.
Radon and its breakdown elements emit alpha particle radiation which, unlike gamma radiation, cannot penetrate very far into tissue. It’s only when you inhale the radioactive elements that the radiation can damage the lungs and cause lung cancer.
Radon can vary greatly between houses, even next door. So knowing your neighbor’s house is ok does not mean that yours is. The only way to find out is to have it tested. There have been high test results found in Rosetown and surrounding areas. In Canada radon is measured in becquerels / cubic meter (Bq/m3). Over 200 is considered dangerous.
The best time to test is in the winter when there is less air exchange and the levels are highest. There are several different home test kits you can buy. Health Canada recommends a 90 day test which can be ordered from radiationsafety.ca for $55. Saskatchewan Health uses a 30 day test kit available from the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory (SDCL) at 1-866-450-0000 for $42. I’m using the Saskatchewan Health test. I’ll let you know my results sometime in January.
If you find your home has a high level of radon you should have a certified radon mitigation professional install an air pump to pull the air from the basement floor outside. All new homes are now built with the piping in place – only a pump needs to be installed.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.