Radon

In which context will you need to proceed with radon testing?

As part of the purchase of a property, radon testing is now highly recommended by Health Canada and the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST). Radon is a radioactive gas that is colourless, odourless, and tasteless. It is formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock, and groundwater. When radon is released from the ground into the outdoor air, it gets diluted to low concentrations and is not a concern. However, in enclosed spaces, like basements and crawlspaces, high levels can accumulate, at which point it becomes a risk to homeowners.

Health Canada collaborated with the Federal Provincial Territorial Radiation Protection Committee (FPTRPC) to review the health risk from exposure to radon. The risk assessment is based on new scientific information and was the subject of broad public consultation. Using the risk assessment and feedback obtained from the public consultation, the Government of Canada is updating its guideline for exposure to radon in indoor air. This updated guideline provides advice that is more universally applicable and more protective than the previous FPTRPC guideline.

The Ministry recommends that:

  • Remedial measures should be undertaken in a dwelling whenever the average annual radon concentration exceeds 200 Bq/m³ in the normal occupancy area.
  • The higher the radon concentration, the sooner remedial measures should be undertaken.
  • When remedial action is taken, the radon level should be reduced to a value as low as practicable.
  • The construction of new dwellings should employ techniques that will minimize radon entry and will facilitate post-construction radon removal, should this subsequently prove necessary.