Radon can progress through pores in the ground and rock where houses are built. It can enter a home through dirt floors, cracks in concrete walls and floors, sump pumps, joints, basement drains, under the furnace base and jack posts if the base is buried in the floor.

Concrete-block walls are very permeable to radon. Radon locked into well water can be released when water is used.

Radon is a radioactive gas that is colourless, odourless and tasteless that is the result of the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater. Radon escapes from the ground into the air and dissipates in low concentrations that are not of concern. However, it can sometimes build up to high levels in homes. High levels of radon are considered to increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Radon can enter a house through cracks in foundation walls and floor.

Radon concentration levels are very inconsistent in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, primarily due to the composition of rocks and soils. The only way to determine the radon level in a home is to perform an air test.

Health Canada considers that remedial measures should be undertaken in a dwelling whenever average annual radon concentration exceeds 200 Bq/m3.

Who should be concerned?

Radon is present in almost all homes, although levels can vary considerably. Most homes have levels lower than the upper limit of 200 Bq/m³ accepted by the Government of Canada. However, it is not possible to pinpoint which houses will have high concentration levels. The only way to know with certainty if there is a high level of radon in your home is to test it.

Homeowners in a high-risk zone, such as the Ottawa-Gatineau region, who want to avoid risks associated to radon should call on our services and ask for a radon measurement test of their home. Health Canada recommends that measurement be taken over an extended period, such as 3 to 12 months. The best time of year to take measurements is between October and April.

Services ecoPlus serves Gatineau, the Outaouais and National Capital Region.