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Radon - Radioactive Gas

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Radon, a radioactive gas that kills

Radon is a radioactive gas that results from the natural decomposition of naturally occurring uranium in rocks, soil and groundwater. It is odorless, colorless and tasteless. Radon escapes from the ground to find itself in the air. Outside, it does not represent any danger since its concentration is diluted. However, it can infiltrate buildings or any other building. When he is indoors, he is imprisoned and can be harmful to the health of the occupants. A study conducted by Health Canada in 15,000 homes across the country showed that one (1) out of ten (10) homes in Quebec have a radon problem. It should be noted that each house is unique and that we can not rely on the results of neighboring houses or the average of the neighborhood.

Radon Gaz Radioactif

The second leading cause of lung cancer

In Canada, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and the leading cause of cancer among non-smokers. Smokers are even more concerned about radon since their cancer risk is considerably increased. The latter disintegrates into small radioactive particles that can be inhaled. When they are found in the lungs, they can damage the lung cells. The latter may form cancers during their reproduction. The risks of radon-related lung cancer increase with radon concentration in the individual's environment, duration of exposure, and smoking. Radon does not cause breathing problems, allergies, asthma or congenital malformations. It is only considered a carcinogen.

How can radon infiltrate inside your building?

Over the course of a year, the air pressure inside your house is less than that contained in the floor around the foundation. This pressure difference allows the gases present at ground level to penetrate inside the buildings through an opening with the ground. Whether the buildings are new, recent or old, an opening is possible. Radon can penetrate into a building through a crack in the foundation, a gap around pipes, an unfinished floor in the basement, a dirt floor, catch basins, crawl spaces, joints, faucets, etc. Radon accumulates significantly in the lowest and least ventilated rooms in a building (eg the basement).

Radon Gaz Radioactif

Radon can be found in groundwater from small private or community wells. Radon from the soil can dilute and accumulate in well water. Afterwards, when the water is agitated while taking a shower, during the laundry ... the radon is in the air. It should be noted that radon is much less harmful when ingested than when inhaled. The health risks are really related to the inhalation of the gas.

The amount of radon present in a home varies according to the concentration of uranium and radon in the soil, the climate, the ventilation of the premises, the watertightness and the insulation of the building and finally according to the pressure negative. Here we mean the fact that the air pressure is lower inside a building than outside this allows the radon to penetrate more easily through an opening.

To find out how much radon is in your building, measure it. The unit of measure for radon is Becquerel per cubic meter, one (1) Bq is one (1) radioactive decay per second. Health Canada recommends that the radon concentration present be below 200 Bq / m3. On the other hand, even if the risks are low down to 200 Bq / m3, no level is considered without risk. Each owner must decide which level he is willing to accept. Health Canada recommends that the situation be corrected within two (2) years if the concentration is between 200 and 600 Bq / m3 and within one (1) year if the values ​​exceed 600 Bq / m3.


Long-term detection

Health Canada recommends that radon measurements be taken for a minimum of three (3) months, or even four months, and preferably during the fall or winter, when ventilation is reduced. The detector must be installed on the lowest floor of the building where occupants spend at least four (4) hours a day. It will be necessary to calculate from 5 to 6 months of waiting to obtain an answer to your questioning, so you will have to calculate the sum of the delays inherent in the process by including the waiting time of the detector between the order and the reception of this one , the reading time, the shipping time to the laboratory (USA) and the waiting time for lab analysis work.

Short term detection

Detector rented for 7 days (the detection solution proposed by AES Environnement)

Does the presence of Radon in your home worry you now? Opt for the ultra fast response

The electronic sensing device can simultaneously measure radon concentration averages over a period of 7 days, and a year. Being powered by batteries, the detector can easily be moved, whether in a house, a workplace, a school or any other place, the electronic reading device will quickly identify the most risky places . With an accuracy of ± 5%, this device is the most reliable electronic detector on the market.

The electronic detection of radon is based on the diffusion of gas in a detection chamber. When radon atoms disintegrate, they emit charged alpha particles. These Alpha particles are detected by a photovoltaic silicon LED (diode). Each of these Alpha particles generates a small electrical impulse when it hits the diode. This pulse is converted and increased to produce an electrical signal. The maximum amplitude of this analog electrical signal is digitized by a digital converter (ADC) and this amplitude is proportional to the energy of the particles Alpha striking the LED (photovoltaic diode). The microcontroller records the time and strength of each particle detected. This information is used to calculate the average radon concentration on a daily basis to make it a weekly average.

  • - Order your detector, it will be shipped by courier, in 48 hours *
  • - Upon receipt, set it up according to the instructions, for a 24-hour calibration
  • - Keep the device in the same place for 7 days, start receiving readings from day 2
  • - Return the device to us at no additional cost thanks to the prepaid and pre-addressed shipping bag.

A simple, fast and efficient AES solution available now for only 125.00.

* According to rental inventory available

Infiltration routes

A recent study conducted by Health Canada in 15,000 homes across the country shows that one in ten homes in Quebec has a radon problem, that is, a concentration greater than 200 Becquerels per cubic meter. There are no safe regions for radon. The big cities are not immune to radon.

Indeed, 6.9% of Montreal homes, 8.8% of homes in the Quebec City region and 12.1% of homes in the Laval region tested had a radon problem.

Your neighbor has measured a low concentration of radon at home and you think it is even at home? Think again; it is not uncommon to see a home with a high concentration of radon while the neighboring house has a very low concentration.

Whether your home is new or old, radon tends to accumulate in the lowest and least ventilated rooms of homes - in the basement for example - where it can reach high concentrations.

The gas can infiltrate a house by different places:

  • - cracks in the foundation walls;
  • - between the floor slabs;
  • - clay floors;
  • - construction joints;
  • - openings around the exhaust ducts (eg, pipe fittings);
  • - gaps around branch pipes and support posts;
  • - crawl spaces, floor siphons and sumps.

It should be noted that in Canada, building materials such as stones, bricks, concrete or granite are not considered sources of radon. Natural materials extracted from the ground such as granite can indeed contain uranium. However, in February 2010, Health Canada conducted an analysis of 33 granite types commonly purchased in Canada, and none containing significant levels of radon.

Health Canada considers that the radon concentration must be less than 200 Bq / m3 (5.4 pCi / L) while in the United States the maximum limit has been set at 4.0 pCi / L (150 Bq / m3) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

As a gas, radon can be inhaled and pose a health risk. On the outside, it is safe, as it dilutes rapidly in the surrounding air. On the other hand, when it enters the dwellings, it can accumulate and reach high concentrations.

In the long term, the only known risk when exposed to high concentrations is to develop lung cancer. This risk depends on 3 factors:

  • - The concentration of radon
  • - The duration of exposure
  • - Tobacco habits

Radon gas and its solid offspring in the air can be trapped in the lungs where they disintegrate and emit "alpha particles". Alpha particles release energy that is absorbed by the lung tissue and damages it. When lung cells are damaged, they may develop cancer at the time of reproduction. It is estimated that in Canada, 16% of lung cancer deaths are associated with radon exposure. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

Radon exposure in a smoker greatly increases the risk of developing lung cancer

Probability of risk of developing lung cancer in the long term

Becquerels Smokers Non-smokers
800 33% 5%
200 17% 2%
Outside air 12% 1%

Over a long period of time, simultaneous exposure to tobacco smoke (including second-hand smoke) and high levels of radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer. It is therefore recommended that smokers and the general population measure the concentration of radon in their homes to protect their health and that of their loved ones.

Results interpretation

  • - Health Canada recommends that the radon level not exceed the limit of 200 becquerels / m3.
  • - US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends that the radon level does not exceed the limit of 150 becquerels / m3.
  • - The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the annual average indoor radon concentration be lower than 100 becquerels / m3.

Your results exceed the acceptable radon limit issued by the Government of Canada

Individual protection

In the case of chronic smokers, it is important in the first place to quit. The risk of developing lung cancer associated with radon will be reduced.

Correction of the dwelling

Health Canada recommends that the situation be corrected within two (2) years if the concentration is between 200 and 600 Bq / m3 and within one (1) year if the values ​​exceed 600 Bq / m3. Whether there are smokers in the residence or not, corrections should be made.

  • - seal cracks at the foundation
  • - seal openings that are in contact with the ground
  • - if there are sump tanks, make sure they are covered and ventilated to the outside
  • - improve ventilation in the house and even more in the basement

If the measurements obtained are very high, the corrections mentioned above may not be sufficient. In this case, a qualified radon contractor will be required. Systems that evacuate radon from around the foundation can be installed to prevent it from entering the home. After such work, it is better to measure the radon concentrations again to ensure the effectiveness of the corrections made.

It is important to choose the company that will carry out such work. A list of certified companies is available on Health Canada's Canadian National Radon Jurisdiction Program.

You plan to build your house, you can prevent radon infiltration.

It is possible to use techniques that minimize the infiltration of radon into the home. Contractors can do this before your home is built, reducing costs if such procedures were used after construction.

Guide de réduction du radon Santé-Canada.pdf

La Maison Saine du 21e siècle RADON.pdf

La Presse RADON.pdf
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