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How Does Radon Negatively Impact Our Health?

Sick woman cough in ved under blanketIn our last blog, we revisited the topic of radon and explained the importance of preventing it from entering your home. The colourless and odourless gas which is produced naturally by the breakdown of uranium in the ground can find its way into your home in a number of ways. As Health Canada reminds us, they include cracks in foundation walls and floor slabs, construction joints, gaps around service pipes, support posts, window casements and floor drains.

But what makes radon a health risk? Believe it or not, radon is the second highest leading cause of lung cancer. As you may have guessed, cigarette smoking is the number one cause. Smokers are more susceptible to the negative health effects associated with radon, but non-smokers are also at risk. This is especially true if radon becomes trapped within the confined spaces of their homes.

“It is estimated that a non-smoker exposed to high levels of radon over a lifetime has a one in 20 chance of developing lung cancer,” reports Health Canada, “That estimate increases to one in three for a smoker exposed to high levels of radon over a lifetime.” It should go without saying that to promote optimum health, cigarette smoking should be completely eliminated. However, measures to limit or prevent the entrance of radon into the home should also be taken.

What measures should be taken to limit radon exposure? Firstly, it’s important to minimize the number of entry points into your home. As we pointed out earlier, there are numerous ways that radon can find its way into your home. However, it’s also important to have good ventilation throughout your home. How well your home is ventilated is a factor in how much radon exposure you and your family members will endure.

How can Canadian homes be safely ventilated in the winter? Obviously, the frigid outside air doesn’t allow for Canadians to keep their windows open for very long. Nevertheless, cracking the windows now and again isn’t a bad idea. According to HealthStatus.com, “you won’t die from the cold if you crack windows open a bit. You might want to install an in-window air exchange system that pulls in filtered outside air without letting heated air escape.”

You may also want to invest in an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator). As explained by Mike Reynolds on Ecohome.net, “the point of these systems is to remove moisture and provide fresh air to your home that is pre-heated by the outgoing air. The core of an HRV has small separated channels that air passes through, allowing incoming air to be preheated by exhaust air. There are no heating coils, you are simply operating fans, so they are relatively cheap to run.”

Health Canada reminds us that nearly every Canadian home has some radon in it. The levels do vary from home to home even if they are located beside each other. It’s important, therefore, to have the levels of radon in your home tested by a certified professional. “The only way to know if you have a radon problem is to test your home,” they insist, “It is simple and inexpensive.” We couldn’t agree more.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we proudly offer Air Quality Services that are designed to accurately locate all sources of air pollution in your home. Seeking out radon, among many other contaminants, our services assist in significantly improving indoor air quality. If you have any concerns about the possibility of radon having entered your home, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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