Ontario Lung Association

Ontario Lung Association

March 30, 2010 10:42 ET

Ontario Lung Association: Getting Results on Radon Home Testing

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 30, 2010) -

Attention Health and Home Editors:

Chris Haromy has had severe allergies and asthma his whole life so he's been diligent about keeping his home's air quality the best it can be to ensure his breathing also remains at its best. But, where mould can be spotted or furnace filters replaced regularly, there could also be a serious – if hidden - health risk lurking in people's homes.

Many Canadians are at risk of getting lung cancer without smoking and, sadly, without knowing it. The health threat is called radon, a colourless, odourless gas that is produced from the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil that can enter your home through tiny openings in floors and foundations. Over time, radon can build up to dangerous levels, especially in areas of the home where children and parents gather most, the family room or recreational rooms on the lower levels. 

"My home's radon level was 64, well below the 200 that Health Canada suggests as an acceptable cut off," says Chris who lives with his wife Claudine in Toronto. "The testing was easy and relatively inexpensive and offers peace of mind knowing my home is healthy. From my perspective, I'm very happy the levels were low and there is no way I would have known that if I hadn't tested my home."

Long-term exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada, a life-threatening condition. Health Canada encourages all Canadians to test their home for radon, which usually involves a long-term test of at least three months, ideally in the fall and winter seasons. 

"I was told that radon levels can vary a lot from day to day, which is why a long-term test provides a more accurate look at the radon level you and your family are being exposed to annually," says Chris, who picked up his home kit at his local hardware store. Tests are sent to a laboratory for analysis and a report is returned along with recommendations.

What does the test result mean?

If the radon test result is 200 Bq/m3 or greater, Health Canada recommends you take measures to reduce the level of radon in your home. If your radon level is less than 200 Bq/m3, you may still wish to take steps to reduce the level of radon in your home, weighing the costs and efforts with the potential health benefits. The lower the radon level in your home, the lower the risk.

What can be done to reduce radon levels?

Some measures to reduce radon are relatively easy and can be done by homeowners, including: 

  • Blocking entry routes of radon gas, such as sealing cracks in basement floors, walls and around pipes
  • Increasing ventilation in your home with an air exchanger or heat recovery ventilator (HRV)
  • Ventilating the sub-floor in the basement to the outside – this is a method called active sub-slab depressurization that is typically performed by a contractor

Other measures require a contractor. All contractors should be certified by an accredited organization such as by the US-based National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) or the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP).

To find contractors knowledgeable on reducing radon levels in homes, visit these two websites:

As always, check their credentials, ask for references, and get quotes for the full costs.

What will it cost to reduce the radon level in my home?

Depending on what is needed to adequately reduce the radon level, Health Canada estimates the costs will typically be in the $500 - $3000 range.

"We all want to feel safe, healthy and happy in our home," says Chris. "I've passed along the information I found on radon to my cousin and dad who are testing their homes right now and are waiting for results. I remind them that what you can't see – even in your own home - can hurt you. Get your home tested."

Where can I get more information?

To find out more, call The Lung Association at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) or visit www.on.lung.ca/radon.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Lung Association
    Karen Petcoff
    Marketing Communications
    416-864-9911 or 416-275-6844
    Kpetcoff@on.lung.ca