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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
radon periodic table symbol surrounded by colourful houses

Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas created by the breakdown of uranium in the ground. Radon is colourless, odorless, and tasteless. In the open air, radon poses limited health risks, as radon escaping from the soil is diluted in the open air. However, in confined spaces, such as homes, radon can build up and become a health hazard. Exposure to high levels of radon has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. In Canada, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoke.

The risk of health effects from radon depends primarily on:

  1. Radon concentration
  2. Duration of exposure
  3. Smoking habits or exposure to second-hand smoke

Smokers are at significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer when exposed to radon. A non-smoker exposed to radon has a lifetime lung cancer risk of 1 in 20. A smoker NOT exposed to radon has a lifetime lung cancer risk of 1 in 10, whereas a smoker exposed to radon has a lifetime lung cancer risk of 1 in 3.

Radon gas can enter your home through cracks in the basement, sump pumps, floor drains, or any other opening where the house contacts the soil. The Canadian guideline for radon levels in indoor air is 200 Becquerels* per cubic meter (Bq/m3).

*A Becquerel equals one radioactive disintegration per second.

The age or location of a house can’t predict the level of radon. Radon concentration will vary from home to home, neighbour to neighbour. Any house could be at risk. The ONLY way to know the radon level in your home is to test.

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Alerts:

1) Our offices are temporarily closed to the public to allow us to respond to COVID-19 demands. However, phone lines remain open. The COVID-19 information line is operating 7 days a week (excluding statutory holidays) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. All other program lines are operating Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

2) Returning travellers must self-isolate for 14 days and contact Public Health if symptoms of COVID-19 develop.

If you have returned from travel anywhere outside of Canada, you must self-isolate for 14 days and immediately contact Public Health or your local health care provider if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. Earlier this month all travellers were asked to self-isolated when they returned to Canada. Effective March 25, the federal government made this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable citizens. Each of us must make the responsible decision to follow the advice of health authorities. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.