Radon is the #2 leading cause of lung cancer in Canada (following smoking).
Radon is a colorless and odorless gas making it undetectable to the senses and tricky to
detect! The only way to determine whether radon is a problem in your home is to test.
Radon is a decay product of Radium, a natural deposit found in soil as are many elements.
As radium progresses through its natural decay cycle, it breaks down into radon gas,
migrating and accumulating into homes. Contrary to what many would first believe, high
radon levels are not indicative of the quality of the build. By itself, high radon is not a
reason to avoid a home purchase. According to University of Calgary, the soil in Alberta
and Saskatchewan is the second leading area for indoor radon levels in the world - all the
more reason to determine your radon levels!
Radon is a long term cumulative health risk, as such it is the average level
of exposure that dictates lung cancer risk. Similar to how we cannot determine
the precise amount of cigarettes contribute to ill health, all that can be conclusively said is
the lower your radon level, the better. Calculating what levels should be a considered a risk
is, as a result, difficult. Exposure to 300 Bq/m³ for one day is equivalent to 100 Bq/m³ for
3 days - the key consideration is dosage and duration.
Radon levels naturally fluctuate day to day and month to month dependent on seasonal
and weather conditions. Using a 1 day test to determine radon levels and your decision on
whether or not to mitigate a home would be the same as checking the Alberta weather
forecast for today and deciding what clothes you should wear - for the whole year.
Health Canada recommends a long term alpha track test to determine the average of
radon concentration in a building. Current guidelines state that homes over 200 Bq/m³
should be mitigated within 2 years and homes determined as over 600 Bq/m³ within 1 year.
The newest research from the University of Calgary states that this is of particular importance
to youth and those who are particularly radon sensitive. this item.
Health Canada recommends testing with an Alpha Track dosimeter.
Alpha Tracks are not only the most reliable way to test - they are also
the most affordable. Long term tests should be deployed
for a minimum of 90 days, up to one year in duration, ideally over a
range of weather and seasonal conditions. If time does not permit a long
term measurement, alternatives are available.
A variety of digital meters are available for home usage. Consumer grade devices range from $230-$400. These meters provide a few benefits, such as re-usability, to perform multiple measurements as well as daily readings and do not require a lab for analysis. It should be noted that while they are the most popular option they are equal in accuracy to a good
laboratory. Regardless of the type of test you choose, it’s important that it be from a
Don’t worry - every home can be fixed and the costs are likely less
than you would expect. Mitigations are typically under $3,000, dependent on a variety of factors. Contact us for more information.