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Don't be alarmed by radon gas card, website

More than 93 per cent of Alberta homes tested had safe levels

Recently I received a large postcard in the mail with “Health Canada” at the bottom, warning me that radon gas could be in my home and that it is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

The takeactiononradon website directed me to buy a radon test kit from them or a listed provider. Hardware and other local stores should have them available if you want one.

Please do not be overly alarmed by this card. Radon is a gas that occurs naturally as any uranium in the soil breaks down. It is not a new issue, and Alberta is not on the list of the highest levels.

According to a Health Canada survey of radon concentrations in homes, 93.4 per cent of homes tested throughout Alberta had less than the 200 bq/m3 radon level considered safe.

Here are some facts that I got from Christina at Alberta Environment:

  • The very south part of Alberta is more likely to have more uranium in the soil and less clay, hence higher radon levels.
  • All homes built since 2015 already have a radon collection pipe roughed in under their basement floor.
  • If you have a sump pump, you already have a place from which you can exhaust radon with just an exhaust fan from the pipe if you did have levels over 200 bq/m3.
  • Levels do vary, even from home to home on the same street.
  • If the ground underneath your house is clay rather than dirt, it cuts down the ability of radon to come in.

I am concerned that this postcard may panic some people into action who may then be taken advantage of by a suddenly very busy radon-related industry. 

You probably don’t have a radon gas issue, but if you do want to check, be informed and wise with your money.

Dorothy M. Moore,