Radon Assessment Tool

Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Exposure to high levels of radon at home increases your risk of developing lung cancer. The risk of cancer depends on the level of radon and how long a person is exposed to those levels. Radon is an odourless, invisible, radioactive gas naturally released from the ground. Radon gas can move from the ground and get into homes and buildings through small cracks and holes and build up to high levels. Over time, breathing in high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. This assessment tool is designed to provide you with education regarding the cause and risks of radon gas exposure with steps to take to test your home and resources curated specifically for you and those residing in your home. At the end of the assessment, you will be provided with a list of online resources that you can save as a pdf or print to review further.

TIP : Please hover over any green word for a moment to view its definition.

1 In your home do you...

Have a basement? Or live on the main floor?

Yes No Did not know

Have sources of ventilation such as:

  • Ceiling fans
  • Portable fans
  • Opening windows and circulating air
  • More than one door to the outside that opens and closes
  • An Air Exchanger or Heat Recovery Ventilator(HRV)
Yes, more than one of the above Yes, one of the above No, none of the above

2 In your home do you...

Have children under the age of 12

Yes No Yes, 3 days a week or less

3 Do you or members in your home...

Have a history of smoking or currently smoke cigarettes/tobacco

Yes No I don't know

Do you, or anyone else smoke cigarettes/tobacco inside the home

Yes No I don't know

4Are you renting your home?

Yes No

5 How do financial circumstances contribute to the likelihood you will test your home for radon?

Greatly affect testing my home Somewhat affect testing my home Financial circumstances have no role in whether or not I test my home I dont know

6 I am going to purchase a test kit after completing this screening

Yes No I need more information I dont know

Recommendations catered to your needs:

Where can I purchase a radon gas testing kit?

Radon Gas is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. In order to assess and reduce your exposure to radon gas, Health Canada recommends performing an at home radon gas test. There are two options for testing for radon: you can purchase a do-it-yourself radon test kit OR hire a radon measurement professional. Visit Takeactiononradon.ca to find a test kit or measurement professional. You can also read about how to do a radon test here - https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/health-risks-safety/radon-long-term-test-instructions.html

I am concerned about my radon gas exposure and its effect on my health:

Health anxiety is a very real and rational response to learning new information and how it could affect your and your family. Radon gas is a long-term exposure risk, where exposure to high levels of radon over time increases the risks of developing lung cancer. Taking action to reduce your radon exposure will decrease these risks. Health Canada recommends you take action if your radon gas reading is above 200 Bq/m3. For any concerns about your health, consult your primary care physician or a local health clinic to assess your health. Health care practitioners may not be able to answer your questions about radon, but they can address any physical health concerns related to lung cancer.

  1. Find a health care facility near you:
  2. To speak with a nurse about a non-urgent health issue across Canada:
    • Dial 811 to speak to a nurse, available 24/7
  3. Contact your local Health Canada Radon Specialist at radon@hc-sc.gc.ca or 1-833-723-6600.

I live in a basement or on the mainfloor, how does this increase my exposure risk?

  1. “All homes in Canada have radon gas in them. Concentrations differ greatly across the country, but are usually higher in areas where there is a higher amount of uranium in underlying rock and soil”
  2. “Radon is confined to enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces it can accumulate to high levels. Radon levels are generally highest in basements and crawl spaces because these areas are nearest to the source and are usually poorly ventilated”

How can I reduce my risk in the meantime?

While there are ways to mitigate risk, short term solutions will not decrease your risk long-term. Health Canada recommends performing a radon test, and if needed, professional radon removal. The risk from Radon gas is long-term, so it’s never too late to decide to test and reduce your exposure.

Short term ways to lower risk of radon gas exposure in your home include:

  1. Increase ventilation in your home
    1. Opening windows/doors for increased airflow
    2. Running an air exchanger or heat recovery ventilator if you have one in your home
  2. Additional resource:
  3. CDC - Improving Ventilation in Your Home
  4. Refrain from smoking inside and in close proximity to your home/near open windows that could enter into your home

How could radon gas affect my children?

  1. "Children have still developing organs. Rapidly growing tissues and cells are very vulnerable to DNA damage from radiation exposure, as their DNA is being replicated. Any resulting genetic mutations can be propagated to all cells arising from the damaged cell."
  2. "Children weigh less, and so their overall exposure (i.e. the amount of radon they absorb per kilogram of body mass) is much greater compared to an adult."
  3. "Children breathe faster. An infant or small child will respire 2-3 times faster than adults as they have little lungs and are often more active. Faster breathing means more radon exposure."
  4. "Children have more life left. Radon exposure causes DNA damage and genetic mutations that may take 10-30 years before lung cancer is diagnosed. Early life radon exposure means a person is more likely to live long enough to get cancer from it."

How does smoking inside increase my risk to radon gas?

  1. "People who smoke and are exposed to elevated levels of radon have a significantly increased risk of developing lung cancer."
  2. "Almost 90% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Radon exposure is linked to approximately 16% of lung cancer deaths in Canada and is the second leading cause of lung cancer for smokers."
  3. Smoking inside your home could expose other members of the household to second hand smoke and increase risk to radon gas exposure

What can I do if I can’t afford to have my home tested/mitigated resources?

  1. Financial assistant programs:
    1. Caring Breaths Program
    2. Lungs Matter Program
    3. Radon Mitigation Grants - Regional Distrcit of Central Okanagan
    4. Lung Association, Manitoba
    5. Vaudreille-Dorion and Victoriaville Habitation Durable
    6. Manitoba Hydro
    7. Radon Reducation Sweepstakes
  2. Borrow a short term radon monitor from a local library
    • Check your local library for more details. Health Canada recommends following up on your short-term radon test with a long-term test.

What if I’m renting?

It is the obligation of the landlord to provide a healthy living environment but no existing policy states landlords must test the home, Health Canada recommends having a conversation with your landlord about radon kit purchasing and possible radon removal. Where can I access more information?

  1. Visit canada.ca/radon or call 1-833-723-6600, TTY - 1-800-465-7735 for more information on radon
  2. Health Canada - Radon Information
  3. Takeactiononradon.ca
  4. EPA - Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction - How to Fix Your Home (PDF)
  5. BREATH The Lung Association - Radon information page
  6. Health Canada - Radon Reduction Guide for Canadians

Where can I access more information?

  1. Visit canada.ca/radon or call 1-833-723-6600, TTY - 1-800-465-7735 for more information on radon
  2. Health Canada - Radon Information
  3. Takeactiononradon.ca
  4. Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction - How to Fix Your Home (pdf)
  5. BREATH, the Lung Association - Radon information page

Canadian Association of
Nurses for the Environment

Association canadienne des infirmières
et infirmiers pour l'environnement