Getting a Radon Test Kit
A limited number of radon test kits are available for purchase at cost ($25) at our Smiths Falls and Brockville offices. You can also purchase a radon test kit by contacting a local hardware store or visit https://takeactiononradon.ca/ for other options.
If you have already performed your long-term radon test (minimum 91 days), follow the directions in the test kit to mail the device and information sheet directly to the laboratory. Do not mail the device and information sheet to the Health Unit. After analysis, the laboratory will email your test results to you. If you purchased the test kit from the Health Unit, we will also be emailed your test results (Note: all personal information is kept private and confidential). The testing laboratory has had reduced capacity due to COVID-19 and results may take longer (about 4–8 weeks from when the lab receives the kit) to be returned to you. If you have questions regarding your test results, you can email [email protected] or call 1-800-660-5853. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit (LGLDHU) encourages residents in the Health Unit region to test their homes for radon.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas that forms when uranium breaks down in soil, rock and water. It can be found at high levels in buildings all over Ontario, including in Lanark County and the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. When radon is released from the ground outside it gets diluted by fresh air and is not a concern. When radon enters indoor areas through floors, holes, and cracked foundations it can accumulate to higher levels and be a risk to our health.
What are the health effects of Radon?
Long-term exposure to elevated radon levels can cause lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer overall (behind smoking) and the leading cause of lung cancer in people who do not smoke. Approximately 850 Ontarians die each year from lung cancer caused by radon exposure. The risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure depends mostly on three factors: the level of radon you are exposed to, the duration of exposure, and smoking habits. Smoking or radon exposure can increase the risk of lung cancer; exposure to both enhances that risk. Reducing long-term exposure to radon can decrease your risk of developing lung cancer.
Should I test for Radon?
Yes. The only way to know if radon is a problem in a building is to test.
How do I test for Radon?
There is a simple test that can check your home (or any building) for radon. See the Getting a Radon Test Kit section above for details on how to get a kit. Testing instructions are provided in every kit. These kits should be placed on the lowest level of the home (where someone spends a minimum of 4 hours per day) for at least 3 months during the fall or winter (when the windows are closed and the home is the least ventilated) to measure an average radon level. A professional radon testing company can also be hired to complete a radon test.
What does my test result mean?
The higher the radon level, the higher your risk of developing lung cancer with long-term exposure. Health Canada recommends remedial action for radon levels that are above 200 Bq/m3, targeting the lowest radon level achievable in your home. A public health inspector at the Health Unit can help you interpret your test results and decide whether consultation with a certified radon mitigation professional is necessary. Public Health Inspectors can be contacted at 1-800-660-5853 or [email protected].
When do I need to reduce the radon in my home?
Health Canada recommends:
- If your test shows radon levels between 200–600 Bq/m3, fix your home within two years
- If your test shows radon levels above 600 Bq/m3, fix your home within one year
How do I reduce radon in my home?
Mitigation measures are available and effective and will reduce your risk of developing lung cancer due to radon exposure. If radon levels in your home are above the Canadian guideline (200 Bq/m3), Health Canada recommends hiring a professional certified under the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (www.c-nrpp.ca) to help reduce radon levels. Local radon mitigation professionals can also be found at www.takeactiononradon.ca. Lowering radon levels in a home requires specific technical knowledge and skills to ensure the job is done properly. If you’ve tested for radon and received your result, you have options for reducing radon in your home. For relatively new homes, a homeowner’s Tarion home warranty may cover the cost of a radon mitigation system if a radon test is completed within 7 years of when the home was built. See this Health Canada resource, Radon Reduction Guide for Canadians, for more detailed information.