Radon is an odorless, colorless and radioactive gas. It is carcinogenic and kills 3000 people each year in Canada. According to studies, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Note that all homes may contain radon, especially newer homes.
With COVID-19, we spend a lot of time in our homes. The government therefore recommends testing our homes to detect the level of radon emitted. You may have received a notice in the mail to this effect or visited the Takeactionradon.ca site.
Fortunately, testing for radon at home is easy. Here are the required steps:
Buy a screening kit. Health Canada recommends a long-term test for radon in the air. The AccuStar Canada Alpha Track AT100 test is one of those approved. It costs $39.95 CAD (you can buy 2 tests for $59.95). Your test will arrive with instructions for use and an envelope ready for return.
You will receive the alpha trace dosimeter test in a sealed bag. You must identify a room to leave the test. For example, the family room, living room or bedrooms are good choices because we spend more time there. Do not test the kitchen, bathrooms or wardrobes.
Open the sealed bag and set up the test in the room of your choice, following the directions in the instructions. We chose to put the test on a nursery dresser. Leave the dosimeter on for 91 to 365 days.
In a few months, you will need to mail the test using the return envelope in order to get the lab results.
According to Health Canada, upon achieving a radon level of 200 Bq/m3 (Becquerel of radon per cubic meter of air) or higher, you should install a radon level abatement system. Hopefully, it won't and your test will stay below that value.
Having said that, it is a test we should all do at least once in our home to ensure the health of our families. We will sleep better afterwards!
Bouge Petit is a café and physical activity center for parents with babies and young children located at 6546 avenue Papineau, Montreal.