Jennifer is concerned about the potential health effects in her basement and has called in a specialist.
Radon is a gas that occurs naturally outdoors from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It can be concentrated in homes built on soil with natural uranium deposits and can enter buildings through cracks in the floors or walls, construction joints, or gaps in the foundation around pipes, wires or pumps. When radon gas is breathed in, it exposes the lungs to small amounts of radiation. This can potentially damage the cells in the lining of the lungs and increase a person’s risk of lung cancer. (However the risk of lung cancer from radon is significantly lower than the risk from smoking.
Because radon gas can’t be seen or smelled the only way to know if it is a problem in your home is to test for it. You can hire a professional tester or purchase a kit at your home hardware store.
Radon is measured in becquerels, which is a unit used to measure radioactive concentration. The Canadian guideline for radon advises that a home should not contain more than 200 Bq/m3 (200 units of Becquerels per cubic metre)
If radon levels are high in your home the most common remediation is to have a vent pipe system and fan installed, which pulls the radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside.