More about Radon

By David Kininmonth, special collaboration 

The author wrote this as a letter in response to our recent article on radon. He hopes that this will add more information on this important topic. We have chosen to publish it as a follow-up story. 

According to Health Canada, if the radon levels in your home are below 200 Bq/m3, there is no cause for concern. If the levels are between 200 Bq/m3 and 600 Bq/m3, corrective measures should be taken within two years, or one year if levels are above 600 Bq/m3. In the l’Estrie area, 9.3% of homes have radon levels above 200 Bq/m3, but none are above 600 Bq/m3. However, to the best of my knowledge, there is no clear picture of radon levels in the Lac Brome area due to insufficient testing. 

New construction in Quebec built within the last 20 years should have been built according to Code, including measures such as vapour barriers, mechanical air exchange systems, and traps in floor drains designed to prevent radon gas from entering the home. Older homes without these systems are more susceptible to radon intrusion, as well as other air quality issues. 

To redress high concentrations of radon in the basement, Quebec suggests installing a stand-alone ventilator coupled with a duct system leading outdoors. It is important to seek advice from Health Quebec or an independent professional and be wary of firms trying to sell services. 

Testing is the first step in addressing radon levels. Quick test kits from hardware stores may give inaccurate results, so it is essential to read up on testing kits from reliable sources such as the CAA. 

Radon gas adheres to dust particles, which can lead to lung issues, particularly in susceptible individuals such as smokers or those who have previously smoked. While the incidence of non-smokers developing lung cancer from radon appears small, it is still an issue worth addressing.