What is Radon?

Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water, which is released into the air. Radon can enter both old and new buildings, through cracks in the foundation, crawlspaces and openings in the floor and walls. It then becomes trapped inside buildings. Radon can be found throughout Canada and the U.S. in virtually every kind of building – homes, offices, schools, hospitals and other facilities.

There is no "safe" level of radon. Potential for exposure is a function of the amount of exposure and time exposed, and the harmful effects of radon exposure can take many years to become evident. In 2005, the U.S. Surgeon General declared that radon was the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking.

Radon Testing

Radon testing is a cost-effective way to ensure a safe environment for building occupants. Radon testing is easy and inexpensive and when performed by our accredited radon measurement technicians, you receive accurate, timely results. Radon testing should be conducted as part of the inspection process before purchasing a building or property. Radon testing is also recommended for BOMA Best and LEED certification.

Long Term versus Short Term Testing

In certain situations, a short-term test can be conducted over a 48 to 72 hour period where a small sampling device is placed in an appropriate location in the building. Because radon levels can vary by day and season, a short-term test does not provide an accurate picture of year-round radon levels.

If results are required quickly (i.e. for a real estate transaction), however, a short-term test can offer a snapshot of levels. If radon concentration on a short-term test approaches or exceeds Health Canada's guidance level of 200 Bq/m3, then we recommend immediate follow-up with long-term testing. (Radon is commonly measured in units called "becquerels per cubic meter" (Bq/m³)).

Long-term testing (more than 90 days) is the only method that will determine a truly accurate average radon level in a building. Should long term testing exceed Health Canada's guidance level, then mitigation is recommended.

Radon Mitigation

If radon is identified at levels exceeding recommended guidelines, our professional engineers and radon mitigation providers can design a system that will reduce radon safely and effectively from any home or building. This can include a combination of sealing penetrations, engineering controls and adjustments to the HVAC systems. Health Canada recommends selecting professionals who have been certified by the National Radon Safety Board (NSRB) and/or the U.S. National Environmental Health Association's (NEHA) National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP), the leading radon certification program in North America. Our radon experts are NRPP certified.

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