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Radon is a colourless, odourless gas released from the degradation of uranium naturally present in rock and soil. Radon levels outdoors are generally low; however, radon can enter buildings and homes through cracks and openings in the foundation and can accumulate at much higher concentrations indoors, especially in basements and lower floors.
- Over 3,200 Canadians are estimated to die each year due to radon gas exposure. (Chen et al., 2012)
- Exposure to indoor radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after tobacco smoking. (EPA, 2016)
- Health Canada recommends that dwellings do not exceed 200 becquerels per cubic meters (Bq/m3). (Health Canada, 2014)
- In some regions of Canada, 25% of homes were above guideline levels. (Health Canada, 2012).
- Health Canada recommends all Canadians have their homes tested for radon levels as it is impossible to predict radon levels without measuring it. (Health Canada, 2013)
- Radon: public health professionals can make a difference (2015)
The NCCEH update in the Environmental Health review, authored by Nicol, AM, Rideout K, Barn P, Ma L and Kosatsky T, was aimed at providing information on radon risks and mitigation to public health inspectors.
- Radon and lung cancer (2015)
Invited presentations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health were on the topic of radon risks for lung cancer.
- Indoor Air Qualty: Interpreting Assessment Results (2013)
A power-point presentation on Radon is available, as part of the CIPHI workshop on Indoor Air Quality held in Winnipeg.
- Radon: threats, challenges and actions (2012)
The radon workshop identified ways in which public health practitioners and other stakeholders can move forward on reducing residential radon levels in BC.
- Residential Indoor Radon Testing (2009)
The advantages and disadvantages of short-term and long-term testing methods are reviewed.
- Radon testing and remediation programs: what works? (2008)
A review was undertaken of lessons learned in implementing testing and remediation strategies.
- Effective interventions to reduce indoor radon levels (2008)
Radon interventions in existing buildings were assessed.
Selected External Resources
- Guide for radon measurements in public buildings (Health Canada, 2016)
This document is similar to the previous guide, but focuses instead on public buildings including workplaces, schools, daycares, hospitals and correction facilities.
- Health risk of radon (EPA, 2016)
Risks of lung cancer are discussed in terms of exposure level and smoking.
- Radon frequently asked questions - Environment and workplace health (Health Canada, 2014)
A series of questions aims to educate the consumer and employer about radon.
- Radon reduction guide for Canadians (Health Canada, 2014)
This homeowner’s guide to reducing radon exposure includes topics such as dealing with contractors and the remediation options that are available.
- Cross-Canada survey of radon concentrations in homes - Final report (Health Canada, 2012)
This two-year survey measured radon concentrations in 18,000 homes across Canada, with results stratified by province and by health region in Canada.
- Handbook on indoor radon: a public health perspective (WHO, 2009)
A handbook for public health practitioners on residential radon exposures is published by the World Health Organization and provides a good background on the health effects of radon, radon measurement, and potential policy options for reducing exposure to radon.
- Guide for radon measurements in residential dwellings (Health Canada, 2008)
Information is given on short-term versus long-term radon measurements in homes, a comparison of measurement devices, guidance on interpreting measurement results, and suggested time frames for remediation.
- Canadian population risk of radon induced lung cancer: a re-assessment based on the recent cross-Canada radon survey (Chen, Moir and Whyte, 2012)
This study undertook a re-assessment of Canadian population risk for radon-induced lung cancer, based on a cross-Canada radon survey.
- Residential radon and lung cancer risk: an updated meta-analysis of case-control studies (Zhang et al., 2012)
A meta-analysis of 22 case-control studies supports findings that residential exposure to radon can significantly increase the risk of lung cancer.
- A combined analysis of North American case-control studies of residential radon and lung cancer (Krewski et al., 2006)
An analysis of pooled data from all North American residential radon studies characterizes the public health risk posed by prolonged radon exposure. These results provide evidence of an association between residential radon and lung cancer risk, a finding predicted from occupational studies of radon-exposed underground miners.
- Canadian individual risks of radon-induced lung cancer for different exposure profiles (Chen, 2005)
This paper explains how to calculate radon risk for specific exposure scenarios and provides Canadian specific estimates using Canadian age-specific mortality rates and smoking prevalence data.
- Radon in homes and risk of lung cancer: collaborative analysis of individual data from 13 European case-control studies (Darby et al., 2005)
This analysis of data from 13 case-control studies of residential radon and lung cancer shows appreciable hazards from residential radon, particularly for smokers and recent ex-smokers.
Selected Non-Government Organizations
- CAREX Canada radon maps
The maps and tables show the percentages of home radon measurements based on measurements from the Cross-Canada Radon Survey. Categories of Bq/m3 levels are illustrated across Canada by health region, within provinces and territories and by select cities and towns.
- Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists
Their goal is to promote public awareness of radon measurement, mitigation, and reduction; ensure quality standards; share resources and promote partnerships.
- Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program
This certification program establishes guidelines for training professionals in radon testing and mitigation services. A list of certified radon professionals in Canada is provided.
- Take Action on Radon
Led by the Lung Association and Scout Environment, with support from Health Canada, the purpose is to recruit and engage stakeholders to participate in radon outreach and education, with the month of November designated as Radon Action Month.
- Radon Aware (The Lung Association)
Resources are aimed at BC residents, local government, policy makers and researchers and includes maps, videos and posters as well as information on ordering radon test kits and mitigation advice.
- Canadian Environmental Law Association
The collection of letters and documents includes a 2014 review of law and policy in Canada.
- Public Health Ontario
Included are radon-specific documents and the environmental burden of cancer in Ontario which highlights radon gas a major health concern.
|Last updated||Nov 14, 2016|