Radon is an odourless, colourless, and radioactive gas that’s naturally present in our environment. Exposure to radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Level of risk depends on the amount of radon present, the length of time you are exposed, and whether or not you smoke - but the risk increases significantly if you are a smoker.
How am I exposed to radon?
Radon gas can enter homes through any opening that contacts the soil, such as cracks in foundation walls. In the outdoor environment, radon disperses in the air. However, in an enclosed space such as a basement, radon levels can increase.
How can I find out the level of radon in my home?
The only way to know if radon is present in your home - and if the level is above the Canadian guideline - is to test for it. Do-it-yourself kits can be purchased at a local hardware store from $30.00 and up, or you can contact a certified radon professional.
Where should I start?
Checking to see if you have radon is easy, you can start by:
Testing done, radon levels are high, now what do I do?
If the radon levels in your home are found to exceed guidelines, there are ways to fix the problem, depending on the characteristics of your home and what the radon levels present. A certified radon professional can also provide you with ways to reduce the radon level in your home.
Information for homeowners:
If you smoke:
Since the combination of smoking and radon exposure dramatically increases the chance of developing lung cancer - quitting smoking is another important way to reduce your risk.
Thinking about quitting, but not sure how? Need some help but don't know where to go? Visit Smokers' Helpline or our Thinking About Quitting page that offers a list of supports and resources to help you successfully quit smoking.
Image provided by Health Canada, Radon – Another Reason to Quit, 2010