What is Radon?
Radon is an invisible gas that comes from radium and goes into the air. When it is contained in a mine, or sometimes in the foundation of a building, it can be present in sufficient concentration to be dangerous to human health.
Reitwan mâk reitwân pihchipuwin:
namui michun nûkun û chichi wâpahtahk awen reitiyamihch e uhchipayihch ekw anite wîwîtimihch e ishi chîkûpayihch. Anite mâk e mûñihîshûliyâwânûhch e ihtakuhch mâk anite e asinîhkânûhch wâskâhîkan mistahî ihtkuhche chikachî kushtâtikuniyû awen wiyes chichi ihtûtâkut wiyûhch.
ᓇᒧᐃᒥᒍᓐᓅᑯᓐᐆᒉᒌᐧᐋᐸᐦᑕᐦᒃᐊᐧᐁᓐᕃᐃᑎᔭᒥᐦᒡᐁᐅᐦᒋᐸᔨᐦᒡᐁᒄᐊᓂᑌᐧᐄᐧᐄᑎᒥᐦᒡᐁ ᐃᔑᒌᑰᐸᔨᐦᒡ᙮ᐊᓂᑌᒫᒃᐁᒨᓂᐦᐄᔔᓕᔮᐧᐋᓅᐦᒡᐁᐃᐦᑕᑯᐦᒡᒫᒃᐊᓂᑌᐁᐊᓯᓃᐦᑳᓅᐦᒡ ᐧᐋᔅᑳᐦᐄᑲᓐᒥᔅᑕᐦᐄᐃᐦᑕᑯᐦᒉᒋᑲᒌᑯᔥᑖᑎᑯᓂᔫᐊᐧᐁᓐᐧᐃᔦᔅᒉᒌᐃᐦᑑᑖᑯᑦᐧᐃᔫᐦ ᒡ᙮
- Radioactive gas found naturally in the environment (degradation product of Uranium).
- Colourless and odourless
- Infiltrates (seeps) into buildings from the ground
- Inert (doesn’t react chemically)
Where does radon come from?
- Radon comes from the decay of uranium.
- Some soils and rocks contain more uranium, so it means more radon coming from the ground.
Radon levels vary according to:
- type of soil (porosity)
- type of construction (ex: house directly built on the ground-no crawl space)
- weather (temperature, wind, etc.)
Radon is heavier than air. It comes in through the bedrock and tends to accumulate in the lower rooms and less well ventilated (ex: basement).
What are the impacts on health?
- Impact associated with radon: risk of lung cancer
- Concentration + time of exposure + tobacco increases risk
- There is no medical test to know if you have been exposed
- Radon is estimated to cause approx. 10% of lung cancers
In the general population:
- Radon is the first cause of lung cancer in non-smokers
- Radon is the second cause of lung cancer in smokers
- Radon + tobacco = significantly increases risk of developing a lung cancer
What can we do to prevent these impacts?
- Private home-owners can test their homes with a radon test kit. The results can be compared to the Health Canada guideline (200 Becquerels/m3).
- Take action if necessary (vent the air from below the basement slab).