As you scroll down on this page, you will find answers to frequently asked questions about testing, reducing, health effects of radon, and the 100 radon test kit challenge.

Feel free to contact us if you have additional questions: info@takeactiononradon.ca
Basic information on TESTING for radon can be found on our website on the test section. Here is some additional information.

Radon testing involves testing the air inside a home or other building for radon. Radon is a radioactive gas which can build up to high levels in indoor spaces, causing an increased risk of developing lung cancer for the people spending time in those spaces. A radon test measures the amount of radioactive activity taking place in the air.

A radon test is easy to do. Single use test kits or continuous digital monitors can be purchased online, or a certified radon measurement professional can be consulted. Since radon levels vary by day and by week, it’s important to measure the radon in your home or workspace for at least three months to measure the average radon level over time.

Radon levels vary from day to day, and from week to week. In order to get an average reading of the radon level in a space, Health Canada recommends testing for a minimum of three months.

Every home needs to be tested for radon. If you have tested your home and the radon level is between 100 and 199 you should consider testing again within the next year or two. If your levels are below 100 you should consider testing again every five years. If you make any changes to the heating and ventilation of your home or any major renovations you should re-test during the following heating season.

The kit will come with proper instructions or the *certified professional that you have hired can provide you with direction on this. Choose a space in the lowest level of your home (basement or main floor) with a room where you spend 4 hours per day or more (bedroom, office, family room). Health Canada has provided guidance on the proper location with minimum distances from walls, windows and other objects. The directions included with the radon test should be clear to guide you on this.

Radon enters buildings from the ground and it is a health risk when people are exposed to it for a duration of time. Therefore, radon test placement recommendations are based around these factors. Our recommendation is to test in the lowest level of your home (basement or main floor) that you spend at least 4 hours per day or more.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t radon in the other areas of your home, it just provides consistent guidance for most types of dwellings across Canada. Air (and radon gas) can move easily throughout the entire space of a dwelling and therefore elevated radon levels can be found in 1st and 2nd floors of the home. Typically, the levels are highest in the lowest levels.

In a residential dwelling, the recommendations are to only test one room in the home and this will provide you with a good estimate of what the radon levels are in other areas of the home.

If you feel that there are unique features of your home that could influence this, you may want to hire a *certified professional to conduct your radon testing.

All Canadians should test their residential space and understand what their radon exposure is. Primary importance goes to those who are living in dwellings with ground contact, and it is less of a risk the higher up in a building that you live, however the only way to know the radon level in your living space is to test.

If you are living in a rented dwelling it is best for the occupant to be involved in the testing of the living space, but in order to make changes to reduce radon levels, you most likely will need permission from the building owner to make changes (also in the situation of a condo/strata units, you may need permission from the ownership group). It may be a good idea to start the discussions with the building owner (condo/strata corporation) when you start the testing process.

There are no provincial databases in Canada that collect this information to provide to future homeowners. The only way to know this, would be if you could ask the previous owner, however, each occupant uses the home in a unique way which could influence indoor radon levels and so we encourage each homeowner to test their home once they move in. You can find a radon test kit here.

There has been some survey’s done, and some mapping conducted to provide communities with a broad picture of what radon measurements look like for their residents.

In 2012, Health Canada released the results of their 2 year cross country survey, you can find the information mapped by postal code region here (www.c-nrpp.ca/radon-map), however there are many communities which do not have enough data to report (the map will not report if there is less than 10 data points in that region). If you are interested in helping to increase the amount of data points in your community, you may be interested in being a community liaison for our 100 Test Kit Challenge. Find out more about it here.

There are other mapping resources that companies have done, you can find some of them below.

Nova Scotia radon potential map.

You can find a maps of geological potential here.

You can find a map of Airthings, Wave data.

You can provide information on the test that you have conducted on your home on our SHARED DATABASE project online here. Your data will be summarized and included in the map at www.c-nrpp.ca.
Long-term radon detectors are typically electret ion or alpha track devices.

Alpha track detectors contain a small piece of plastic which gets ‘etched’ or marked by the energy that is released from the radon decay process. This mark on the plastic is from the same impact that can damage your lung tissue, however on the plastic inside the detector it leaves a mark that can be counted by the lab.

Electret ion detectors measure radon through its loss of electrons in its decay process. The electret ion detector has a electret in the bottom which is positively electrically charged. It reduces in charge as the ions are released from the decay of the radon. Touching this electret will not harm you, but it will reduce the charge on the electret making the device no longer able to accurately measure radon.

Radon test kits are non-toxic and safe to use in homes with pets and children present. They should be left in place for the duration of the 91 days, but if a child picks it up and shakes it or a pet moves the detector, there should be nothing falling out of the detector and one-time or limited movement should not affect the result of the radon level. Typical long term devices are alpha track detectors and e-perm detector, these devices do not accumulate radiation.
After you have completed your radon test and received your test from the lab, you should receive a radon report by email. We recommend that you verify the start and end dates listed on the test report as these will be the key information after analyzing your detector that the lab used to determine the radon concentration for your report.

Alpha track devices, which are the ones that Take Action on Radon uses for its 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge program are the most accurate type of radon measurement devices. The lab which provides the radon devices and Take Action on Radon who distribute the devices each follow quality assurance measures to verify the accuracy of the devices.

If you make substantial changes to your home through renovations or additions or if you undertake energy efficiency changes that significantly seal up your home, you should test again. Otherwise, it is a good idea to test within the next five years. Until then, why not spread the word about radon to your friends, family, and colleagues? Who knows, you may just save a life!

Find more information on our page, Understanding your Radon Test Report.

Radon levels vary widely from day-to-day and from week-to-week. Because of this variation, it is important to measure radon levels for at least 3 months, to get an indication of the average radon levels in a space. Health Canada considers any radon test shorter than 3 months to be a short-term radon test. Tests conducted for less than 3 months risk indicating a much higher or lower radon level than the actual average. There are special circumstances in which a radon professional may conduct a short-term radon test, but the results are generally considered to be a “screening”, rather than a test.

When testing a home for radon, it’s best to test in the lowest “lived-in” level of the home. If the home has a basement that is used for at least 4 hours per day, then the radon test should be placed in the basement. However, if the basement isn’t used for 4 hours per day, then the radon test should be placed on the main floor of the home.

A new home should be tested for radon during the first winter of occupancy. If elevated radon levels are found, the home should be mitigated. If radon levels are not elevated during the first test, the home should be tested again in the third and fifth years of occupancy, since it can take several years for the materials in new homes to settle and cure. As materials (such as concrete or sealants) cure, new entry pathways may open for radon gas to enter the home, which is why it’s so important to test new homes again after the first few years of occupancy.

Basic information on REDUCING radon levels can be found on our website on the PROTECT section. Here is some additional information.

Because there are so many factors, it is not possible to predict the radon level in a home; the only way to know your radon level is to test. All homes have some level of radon. The levels can vary dramatically even between similar homes located next to each other.

The amount of radon in a home will depend on many factors including:

  • Soil characteristics: Radon concentrations can vary enormously depending on the uranium content of the soil. The greater the source, the greater the potential that radon could enter a building.  In addition, radon flows more easily through some soils than others; for example through sand versus clay.
  • Construction type: The type of home and its design affect the amount of contact with the soil and the number and size of entry points for radon.
  • Foundation condition: Foundations with numerous cracks and openings have more potential entry points for radon.
  • Occupant lifestyle: The use of exhaust fans, windows and fireplaces, for example, influences the pressure difference between the house and the soil. This pressure difference can draw radon indoors and influences the rate of exchange of outdoor and indoor air.
  • Weather: Variations in weather (e.g., temperature, wind, barometric pressure, precipitation, etc.) can affect the amount of radon that enters a home.

My radon level is quite high, what do I do next?

Home testing is only part of the solution, there is no reason to fear a high radon test result. No matter your level, there are radon mitigation methods that can successfully reduce your home to a safe level.

If you’ve tested your home, and the radon concentration is above the Canadian guideline of 200 Bq/m3, Health Canada recommends that you take action to lower the concentrations.

The higher the radon concentrations, the sooner action should be taken to reduce levels to as low as practically possible.

Once you receive your high-test result, the first step is to contact a certified* radon mitigation professional to help.

Certified radon mitigation professionals have received the training necessary to properly assess your home and decide which radon mitigation method is most appropriate. Your professional will design a system to efficiently and effectively reduce your radon to a safe level. Often, the work involved can be done in one day, at a cost that’s comparable to a new furnace or a couple of new appliances.

You can find a list of C-NRPP Certified Mitigation Professionals at C-NRPP Professionals

Radon is found naturally in the environment when uranium in soil and rock decays. When released from the ground into the outdoor air, radon is diluted and does not pose a significant health risk. However, in enclosed spaces such as homes, radon can sometimes accumulate to high levels and become a health concern.
If an HRV is already installed in a house and you test for radon and have high levels, you may be able to make an impact by cleaning or having some maintenance done on the HRV to improve its effectiveness, however it is not the most effective method of mitigation. An HRV may dilute the radon by bringing in fresh air, but it still will allow the radon to enter the house. Plus, research that has been conducted shows that the reduction provided by an HRV is not enough to reduce high levels.
Geothermal technology itself does not bring radon gas into a home because the loops used in geothermal are closed and so would not impact radon levels within a home.

The loops can be situated vertically or horizontally and could create a pathway which would allow radon to move through the ground and up. It’s not the pipes that would introduce radon, but the area around the pipes. The pipes need to enter the house some how and this access point needs to be sealed or it could be a potential entry point for radon.

They still need to be tested for radon. Some provincial or regional building codes require radon prevention measures. New homes could have either a radon rough-in stub pipe or a radon rough-in extended pipe. Both of these pipes are intended to make reducing radon easier once the home occupant has tested for radon and determined if radon reduction is required. A homeowner, MUST STILL TEST FOR RADON in order to make this decision.

Currently, we only know of a few programs that provide some type of assistance however, we will update our website as we learn of others.

In Ontario, Tarion Warranty covers new homes for the first seven years after construction. If homes test above the Health Canada guideline then the warranty program covers the cost of the radon mitigation system if installed by a C-NRPP Professional.

In Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro has a loan program where homeowner’s can access their Energy Finance Plan to finance the cost of a radon mitigation system if the system is installed by an approved contactor who must be certified for radon mitigation through C-NRPP and meet their other contractor requirements.

In Saskatchewan, the Home Renovation Tax Credit includes installing a radon mitigation system. You can find details about the tax credit on the Saskatchewan Lung Association’s webpage here.

City of Vaudreuil-Dorion, to help citizens add a radon mitigation system to their homes, the City will reimburse 50 per cent of the cost of installing a radon mitigation system to a maximum of $500 per residence if a long-term radon test shows radon levels above 200 Bq/m3. More details can be found here.

In Alberta, The Seniors Home Adaption and Repair Program (SHARP) provides low interest loans to qualifying seniors who wish to improve their homes for any purpose, including radon mitigation. In some case if a senior fails to qualify for a loan a grant may be given. Funds are available up to $40,000 if the applicant has sufficient equity in their home and meets certain other criteria. More information is available online here.

New construction should have certain measures to help control the radon levels. Level 1 measures have the least impact on reducing radon, but they provide good foundation for the eventual installation of a radon mitigation system, if radon testing shows that it is required. Level 1 measures include a granular layer and a polyliner between the granular layer and the foundation. It also can include a capped rough-in pipe which can be installed as a short pipe (min 12″) sticking up out of the foundation or an extended capped rough-in which exits the building. Level 2 includes all level 1 measures but the pipe system is a passive pipe which extends directly up through the building to the exterior and may have some reduction on the radon levels. A Level 3 system provides the greatest potential for radon reduction as it is a full radon mitigation system which includes the pipe extended fully outside of the building with a properly sized fan. A Level 3 system should be installed after the house is occupied and proper diagnostic testing can be done by a certified professional.

A radon mitigation system is an advantage, provided it has been installed by a certified C-NRPP professional. The mitigation system should have a label on it, indicating the date of installation and the name of the company who installed it. The system should also have a device called a “u-tube manometer” installed on the side of the pipe, which indicates that the radon fan is still functioning. As a new homeowner, it’s a good idea to contact the company who installed the radon mitigation system to ensure that everything is still operating as designed, and to conduct a radon test so that you are aware of the current radon levels in your new home.

A radon mitigation systems requires specific piping. You can find more information about radon standards on the CARST website here.

Health Canada recommends that any home with an annual average radon level of 200 Bq/m3 or above be mitigated to lower the radon levels. The annual average radon level is measured by testing the home for radon for at least three months, preferably during the heating season.

Many homeowners have noticed a reduced amount of humidity in their basements after installing a radon mitigation system. This makes sense, since a radon mitigation system draws air (which includes radon, other soil gasses, and moisture) from beneath the basement floor slab and exhausts it directly outdoors. A mitigation system will likely have a greater impact on reducing humidity levels if the concrete floor slab does not have a plastic membrane underneath, or if the mitigation system involves installing a plastic membrane over exposed soil in a crawlspace or basement.

Take Action on Radon has gathered data on the cost of radon mitigation across the country for the past four years. The average cost by region can be found in our latest report here.

Basic information on the HEALTH EFFECTS of radon can be found on our website on the LEARN section. Here is some additional information.

Radon is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, radioactive gas found naturally in the environment. Radon is released into the air during the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Radon enters homes and buildings through any place in contact with the soil, such as small cracks in the foundation, construction joints, gaps around service pipes, floor drains and sumps. Radon levels indoors can reach high concentrations, and long-term exposure to these radon levels greatly increases an individual’s lifetime risk of developing lung cancer.

An individual’s risk depends both on the radon level and the length of exposure, as well as their smoking habits. Lung cancer can develop after many years of radon exposure. Health Canada estimates that about 16% of lung cancer deaths are related to exposure to radon in the home. Radon exposure is the LEADING CAUSE of lung cancer in non-smokers and it is estimated there are more than 3,200 radon-related lung cancer deaths in Canada each year.

As a radioactive gas, radon decays. As it decays, radon produces decay products, sometimes called “radon daughters” or “radon progeny”. Radon gas and radon progeny in the air can be breathed into the lungs where they break down further and emit “alpha particles“ inside the lungs.

Alpha particles release small bursts of energy which are then absorbed by nearby lung tissue. This results in lung cell death or damage. When lung cells are damaged, they have the potential to result in cancer when they reproduce (mutation).

No. To date, medical researchers have not conclusively linked radon exposure to health concerns other than lung cancer.
Yes, it is important that your doctor knows about exposures that can impact your lung health.
The Take Action on Radon is a national initiative funded by Health Canada to bring together stakeholders and raise awareness on radon across Canada.

The current advisory team is made up of the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST), CAREX Canada, and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Basic information on our 100 RADON TEST KIT CHALLENGE project can be found on our website here. Below is some additional information through some frequently asked questions.

The goal of this survey is to gather more information about radon concentrations throughout the country to increase our knowledge and help us to better understand concentration levels.

In the instructions, we recommend putting the foil bag on your fridge, so you can check there, but no worries if you don’t have it, you can also put the detector into a ziplock bag and take out as much of the extra air as you can. (Foil bags were only used for our 2020 and 2021 projects, if you received the detector from our 2018 or 2019 communities, you may not have a foil bag and can return the detector on its own in a paper envelope when you send it back in the mail.)

You can keep the brown(manila/paper) envelope, this has your serial number on it, so if you don’t get a report from us by email, you can provide that to us to help us match you with your radon test report, but if you have completed the start and end surveys, we should have the information that you need.

Try re-entering the postal code ensuring that there is a space in the middle. Eg. A1A 1A1

If it still gives you trouble, you could try using a different browser (ex. Google Chrome) or you could email and have us help you with entering the information. info@takeactiononradon.ca

You only need to click the submit button once. Sometimes if people double click it takes it as two submissions and provides this error, but the first submission worked. You can email us at info@takeactiononradon.ca to ensure the submission worked and we can help you if it didn’t.

You should receive the report through your email address that you provided to us when you completed the start and end surveys.

It usually takes the lab 3-4 weeks after they have received the tests from us, and so remember that we will be shipping the detectors to the lab at the end of the collection period and so you can calculate the time after that.

Please check your email for a radon report and also you may want to look in your spam filters as well.

Take Action on Radon (takeactiononradon.ca) provides more information on where to buy radon test kits. We are continuing to take list of communities that would like to participate next year. We are currently running the program in communities where we have commitment by the municipality or health region. If you are interested, you can find more information on how to join here.

What type of information are you collecting from participants of the 100 Radon Test Kits Challenge and how are you using it?
When homeowners are provided with the radon test kits, we collect their contact information (name, email, and phone number), this information will be used to follow up with the participants to remind them to open and place the test, enter the information online and complete the online housing survey. We will also use it to contact them at the end of the test period to remind them that the collection dates and coming up and where they can drop off the detector.

Limited number of detectors are being provided free and so we want to make sure that each detector is being used. We will reach out to contact participants if they haven’t recorded their start time to ensure that they are planning on using the radon test. Also, start and end dates are important information for the lab to provide a participant with results. Having contact information connected with a serial number, will allow us to contact participants for information to assist the lab in providing test results.

Who collects the information?
This information will be collected by the individuals and volunteers who are handing out test kits, it will be given to CARST (the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists) who is the Lead for the Take Action on Radon project.

Where is the information kept/stored?
This information will be stored in paper form in our CARST offices and on computer until we have completed the project for the purposes of ensuring we have all the contact information registered and results provided to participants. The information will be kept until all results have been distributed.

The personal information will be maintained by CARST for the purposes of ensuring the participants has the test results.

When will the records be destroyed?
The records will be kept and stored securely for at least 1 year after the completion of the project to ensure it is available if required to respond to any participant inquiries. After that, it will be destroyed as per our usual schedule of shredding of 2 years after the date of the project.

When homeowners are provided with the radon test kits, we collect their contact information (name, email, and phone number), this information will be used to follow up with the participants to remind them to open and place the test, enter the information online and complete the online housing survey. We will also use it to contact them at the end of the test period to remind them that the collection dates and coming up and where they can drop off the detector.

Limited number of detectors are being provided free and so we want to make sure that each detector is being used. We will reach out to contact participants if they haven’t recorded their start time to ensure that they are planning on using the radon test. Also, start and end dates are important information for the lab to provide a participant with results. Having contact information connected with a serial number, will allow us to contact participants for information to assist the lab in providing test results.

This information will be collected by the individuals and volunteers who are handing out test kits, it will be given to CARST (the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists) who is the Lead for the Take Action on Radon project.
This information will be stored in paper form in our CARST offices and on computer until we have completed the project for the purposes of ensuring we have all the contact information registered and results provided to participants. The information will be kept until all results have been distributed.

The personal information will be maintained by CARST for the purposes of ensuring the participants has the test results.

The records will be kept and stored securely for at least 1 year after the completion of the project to ensure it is available if required to respond to any participant inquiries. After that, it will be destroyed as per our usual schedule of shredding of 2 years after the date of the project.