Archive: Jan 2012

Winter is a Great Time to Test for Radon

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Christmas decorations are going back in the boxes. The New Year celebrations are over. This winter, why not test your home or business for radon gas. With the doors and windows all closed, winter is a great time to get the most accurate readings.

How Does Radon Gas Affect Your Family’s Health

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Radon decay and what happens when inhaledRadon Gas, or its radioactive decay products (RDP’s) are inhaled as part of the normal breathing process.

The RDP”s can stick in the lung tissues and continue to irradiate these sensitive tissues. Lung tissues do not have the same protective layers of dead cells that our skin has to protect us from alpha radiation.

Many of these irradiated cells are killed by this radiation, but some are just wounded and recover, a few mutate into cancer cells. Most of these will be taken care of by the bodies natural defenses, but those that are not, are a problem.

Radioactive particles stick to lung tissue when radon decay products inhaled. Radiation can alter the cells increasing the potential for cancer. The higher the Radon level in your home the more often a cell gets irradiated.

What are the probabilities of this happening?

It is based on how much Radon Gas you and your family are exposed to, and for how long.

The only way to know if you have high Radon Gas levels in your home is to test!

Graph of Canadian Death Rates 2005

Sources: Canadian Cancer Society and Stats Canada

1 in 10 Toronto Homes With High Radon Levels

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We are presently finding that an average of 1 in 10 of homes we have tested for radon gas in the GTA and surrounding communities are above the ‘action levels’ set by Health Canada.

Occurrence of Radon

Levels of radon vary from place to place and even from house to house within a given area. The higher the uranium content of the rocks that underlie an area, the greater the likelihood that houses in the area will contain elevated levels of radon. The only way to know if you have a radon problem is to test. It’s quick, easy, and inexpensive.

What is the likelihood of a High Radon Test in the GTA?

At present there is no Radon map of the Greater Toronto Area but we might infer some things from the map of Canada below. Please be reminded that levels of Radon vary from place to place and even from house to house within a given area. The data seems to show that there is generally a lower average of high tests in homes very close to the great lakes (5-10 miles). Geologists have suggested this may be because these homes are built on old lake bottoms with clay silt layers. These lower averages still result in a percentage of homes above ‘action levels’ for Radon Gas. Remember, the only way to know is to test.

Radon Potential Canada Map

Do not use this map as “don’t need to test for radon here”.

Our two highest levels in homes – 16650 bq/m3 and 8775 bq/m3 –were found in homes that were in the elevated and guarded areas on this map.

Every home old or new, big or small, has the potential to be high in radon. Please test your home and  if you have a high test, consider your options for radon mitigation (repair).

Please be reminded that levels of Radon vary from place to place and significant differences from house to house within a given area. If your neighbour has had a low test it doesn’t mean that your home will be low as well.

Remember, the only way to know if your Toronto area home has high radon levels is to test.

Have you experienced a high radon test result? Share your story for the benefit of others below.

CARSTC-NRPPRenomarkHolmes and Holmes