QUESTION:"Is it true that some homes in the Ottawa area may be exposed to Radon Gas?"
Yes it is. There are some areas of Ottawa ( Kanata, Stittsville) and near Chelsea Quebec to name just a few, where Radon Gas levels have been found to be quite high.
Home Inspectors® offers radon specific information booklets and contact pages to all of our clients who are either interested in purchasing or own homes in radon effected areas around the capital.
It should also be mentioned that homes that experience readings of high levels of radon gas, can be rectified. There are numerous remedial actions that offer excellent solutions to sealing homes to radon gas as well as diverting or venting solutions. Costs may vary but generally range from $2500 - $5000 for remediation.
(directly from Health Canada)
Exposure to high levels of radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer. This correlation has prompted concern that radon levels in some Canadian homes may pose a health risk.
Radon is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium, and can be found in high concentrations where soils and rocks contain uranium, granite, shale, or phosphate. Radon can also be found in soils contaminated with certain types of industrial wastes, such as the by-products of uranium or phosphate mining.
The Health Effects of Radon
In the open air, the amount of radon gas is so minimal that it does not pose a health risk. However, in confined spaces like mines radon gas can accumulate in relatively high levels and can become a health hazard. The only known health effect associated with exposure to high levels of radon is an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Radon in the Home
Radon gas can move through small spaces in the soil and rock upon which a house is built. It can seep into a home through dirt floors, cracks in concrete walls and floors, sumps, joints, basement drains, under the furnace base, and jack posts if the base is buried in the floor. Concrete-block walls are particularly porous to radon, and radon trapped in water from wells can be released into the air when the water is used.
Measuring Radon Levels in the Home
Commercial services are available to homeowners who wish to measure radon levels in their homes. Radon is measured in units called "becquerels per cubic metre." The most popular radon detectors are the charcoal canister and the alpha track detector. Both of these devices are exposed to the air in a home for a specified period of time, and then sent to a laboratory for analysis. There are other techniques for testing radon levels, but they require a trained operator and are more expensive.
Minimizing Your Risk
Health Canada's studies show that radon pollution is not widespread in Canadian homes. Less than one-tenth of one per cent of all homes in Canada have radon levels that exceed the recommended guideline. However, if you are concerned about exposure to radon gas in your home, you might consider testing the levels, and/or taking the following steps to reduce radon levels:
Health Canada's Role
Health Canada has taken a number of steps to minimize the health effects of radon exposure. These include evaluating measurement techniques, developing guidelines and conducting research into all aspects of radon gas.
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