What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed naturally by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Radon is colorless, odorless and tasteless and as a result must be detected by a radon detection system.
How Does Radon Get into a Building?
Since radon is a gas, it can move freely through the soil allowing it to escape into the air and into buildings. When radon escapes into the air, it is so concentrated that it does not pose a threat. If a building is built over bedrock or soil that contains uranium, radon gas can be released into the building through many accesses – cracks in the foundation walls and floor, construction joints, gaps around service pipes and support posts, floor drains and sumps, cavities in walls and water supplies. Radon can accumulate in high levels in areas that are poorly ventilated, but especially in basements and crawl spaces since they are close to the source and poorly ventilated.
Why is Radon a Health Concern?
Radon gas in the air can be breathed into the lungs where it breaks down further and emits alpha particles. Alpha particles release small bursts of energy which are absorbed by nearby lung tissue. This results in lung cell death or damage. When lung cells are damaged, they have the potential to result in cancer when they reproduce. The risk from radon exposure is long-term and depends on the level of radon, how long a person is exposed and their smoking habits. If you are a smoker and are exposed to elevated levels of radon, your risk of developing lung cancer increases significantly.
On average, 16% of lung cancer deaths are attributable to radon exposure in Canada. In 2006, an estimated 1,900 lung cancer deaths in Canada were due to radon exposure. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
The following links provide more information on radon and the process we follow to eliminate it in your building: