Health fads and scares seem to always be a hot topic in media these days. From the Keto Diet to the dangers of Tupperware there is always something. While some of these health scares seem laughable, i.e. GPS tracker chips in flu shots, occasionally, a ‘boogeyman’ will come along. Just like the cheesy antagonists from an ’80s horror flick: you aren’t sure if you should laugh or be afraid. The newest hot topic is Radon gas, it is popping up on your TV, or maybe an ad on the radio, or more likely your social media feeds or the internet. This sinister boogeyman often seems founded in irrational fear, science, or, if you are more cynical, you may assume it was created by unscrupulous companies looking to cash in on your fear. No matter where you might have found the boogeyman, the discovery of it has most likely raised the following questions; What is radon gas? How do I know if it in my house? What can I do about it? By the time you are done reading this you will have the answer to those questions and hopefully the boogeyman won’t bother you anymore.
Radon gas is naturally produced by decaying radioactive material in soil. It gets into your home through your concrete foundation and you water piping. Depending on how well sealed your house is the gases can remain in your home and in your water. Over time this radon gas can cause health issues. Let’s get the scary part out of the way, one of the reasons you have been hearing so much about radon gas lately is that it believed to be the biggest leading cause of lung cancer next to smoking. While it seems that everything causes cancer, the second leading cause of lung cancer is scary and that is why Health Canada wants to educate you.
How likely is it that there is radon gas in your home? Radon gas is at dangerous levels in about 46% of Albertan homes or 1 in every 8 houses. There are many reputable maps displaying areas of the province that contain high levels of radon and can be found using a quick search of the internet. If you are in a moderate to dangerous zone you can confirm if radon is in your home using a DIY kit that can be purchased online or at a box store such as Home Depot or Lowes. If you are unsure about how to use a DIY test or if you would like to be certain you can hire a professional to come and do the tests. Testing for radon can take as long as a week in some cases however a proper test is the only way to confirm or disprove the presence of radon.
If you find that you have radon you have several options to either remove it or lower the chances of it entering your home. There are exhaust systems that can be installed to remove the radon gas. Some of these systems are relatively cheap to have installed while others can be quite expensive it all depends on the amount of work that is required to properly seal and then remove the gas. We highly recommend seeking out a professional who can give you options and explain the process in detail. Unfortunately, when a hot issue like radon gas comes up there is a sort of gold rush that occurs and many fly by night companies pop up to cash in on peoples fears so it is always important to find out if the people working on your home are licensed, certified, and insured.
While there is a lot of fear mongering going on over radon gas it is important to find out if it affects your home. There are quite a few resources to be found online but it may give you some reassurance to have the risk assessed by trained professionals. Radon is one boogeyman we can do something about so that should make the process a little less frightening and remember that the odds are in ever your favour.