Radon testing

What is radon? How does it affect me? What can I do about it?

  • What is Radon?

    Radon is an invisible gas formed in the Earth’s crust. It surrounds every one of us as part of the air we breathe.

  • Why is Radon a Concern?

    Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer amongst non-smokers. Radon induced lung cancer kills more than house fires and carbon monoxide combined.

3200

Canadians die from radon-related lung cancer each year.

377

Canadians die from house fires each year, on average.

400

Canadians die from drowning each year.

1250

Canadians die from drunk driving each year.

  • Where Does Radon Come From?

    The rocks and soil beneath our homes contain traces of uranium. Over time, the uranium breaks down and forms other elements. This is called radioactive decay. Radon is one link in the decay chain of uranium. When radon gas decays, it emits radioactive radiation in the form of an alpha particle. This radioactive particle is made up of two protons and two neutrons.

Radiation and DNA

When an alpha particle hits our DNA it can cause damage to a cell’s blueprint. Cells constantly replicate themselves, but with a broken blueprint the replication process can become cancerous.

  • Wave-Particle Duality

    According to particle physics, any form of radiation can behave as both a particle and as a wave depending on how you observe it. That is why an alpha particle is the same as alpha radiation.

  • DNA

    All our cells contain DNA, which acts as an instruction manual or blueprint for cells on how to create copies of themselves.

Radioactive Radiation

Radioactive radiation takes different forms including alpha, beta, gamma, X-ray, and neutron radiation, which are able to penetrate different substances.

  • Artificial Sources

    When we think of radiation, we often think of artificial sources, such as X-ray or medical scans, but these sources have little effect. Almost half of the radiation we are exposed to through our lives is in the form of radon.

42%

Radon

18%

The Ground

14%

Cosmic Rays

11%

Food and Drink

15%

Artificial Sources

  • Internal Tissue

    Since alpha particles are ingested or inhaled, they come in contact with living cells which are not able to stop the radiation.

Alpha Radiation vs Gamma Radiation

Alpha radiation (such as radon) has a much greater effect on DNA than gamma radiation. Imagine DNA being hit by a cannonball; that is what Alpha radiation is like. Whereas gamma radiation is like the DNA being hit by a needle. There is a big difference in damage.

Healthy Lungs

Lungs have especially sensitive tissue made of living cells that allow oxygen molecules to pass from the air we inhale into our bloodstream. When alpha-emitting substances like radon are inhaled, they can damage local cell DNA.

Radiation in Buildings

Modern buildings are often well insulated and sometimes windows are even unusable. This is to save on energy costs and consumption. However, little airflow can allow radon to build up to high levels and cause long term exposure. Ventilation is the solution to keep radon levels safe.

  • A Man-Made Problem

    The radon concentration within buildings is often much greater than outside. The gas comes from the ground and is captured and contained in our homes, resulting in levels that we seldom find in nature.

  • Radon Sources

    Radon rises and can enter a home or workplace through cracks in the foundation, entry points for pipes, wiring and more.

  • Top Floors

    Some buildings have a higher radon level in the top floors. This can be due to artificial ventilation, natural updraft, or building materials used.

  • Weather Effects

    Radon levels can be affected by natural sources such as cold weather, wind, pressure and shifting soil—even earthquakes and local construction.

Who is Radon Sensitive?

1 in 30

are fundamentally radon sensitive

All Children are Sensitive

  • Children’s Organs are Still Developing;

    their replicative tissue is more vulnerable to DNA damage.

  • Children Breathe Faster;

    they actually respire 2-3 times faster than adults as their lungs are much smaller.

  • Children Weigh Less;

    their exposure is greater, as it is measured in concentration per kilogram.

  • Children Have More Life Left;

    and thus could live long enough to get cancer from early life radon exposure.

Radon is 10x more dangerous for children.

-Dr. Goodarzi presentation to Airthings 8th April 2019.

Measuring Matters

Radon levels fluctuate over time and are influenced by the elements in our environment. Monitoring over long periods of time allows for such fluctuations to be accounted for, giving you more accurate and meaningful results.

What Do My Results Mean?

Green

A green test result indicates a radon screening assessment of 75 Bq/m3 or less during the heating season or 50 Bq/m3 or less outside the heating season. No further action with regard to radon testing is recommended or warranted prior to purchase. 

It is important to note that a green result indicates it is likely, but does not guarantee, that the annual average radon concentration in the dwelling is below 200 Bq/m3. A follow-up long-term radon measurement conducted during the next heating season must still be carried out to guarantee the results.

Yellow

A yellow test result indicates a radon screening assessment of greater than 75 Bq/m3 during the heating season or 50 B/m3 outside the heating season, up to and including 400 Bq/m3.

This result indicates that there is a higher likelihood that the annual average radon concentration is above the Action Level of 200 Bq/m3.

A radon remediation may be warranted and consideration should be made for a long-term follow-up test and installation of a radon mitigation system.

Red

A red test result indicates a radon screening assessment of greater than 400 Bq/m3.

This result indicates a strong likelihood that the annual average radon concentration is above the Action Level of 200 Bq/m3.

There is a strong possibility that a radon remediation may be warranted and consideration should be made for a long-term follow-up test and installation of a radon mitigation system.