Radon Awareness FAQ

Saskatchewan & Alberta are known hotspots in Canada for radon gas.

What is radon gas? Radon is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soils and rocks.

How does radon get into a home? Radon can enter a home through foundation cracks and similar unsealed openings in basement walls and floors. Radon levels are generally highest in cellars and basements because these areas are nearest to the source and are usually poorly ventilated.

What does it do? Although you will experience no immediate symptoms, the gas can damage lungs at the DNA level, potentially leading to cancer, when inhaled at high levels over many years.

How serious is the threat? Radon is the leading source of lung cancer after smoking. It is estimated to kill 2,000 Canadians every year. Because there is some risk at any level, homeowners may want to have their homes tested and take any steps to reduce their exposure to radon, regardless of levels tested.

What are the changes to the radon guidelines? Health Canada’s new guideline was developed in partnership with the provinces and territories. It is now 200 becquerels (“bec‐ krells”) per cubic metre, much reduced from 800 becquerels per cubic metre.

Health Canada’s guideline for radon has always been based on the best available scientific evidence of health risk and two recent, independent scientific studies in Europe and North America have shown that the lung cancer risks extend to levels of radon found in some homes.

How do I know if my home is at risk? The only way to determine the actual concentration of radon in a home is by a direct measurement. got mold? can assist in getting a test available for your building envelope. The tests can take three to six months to complete. The best time to test is between September and April, when your windows and doors are closed.

Which is at a higher risk? New or older homes? Radon can enter any home. However, remediation options available to you may differ, depending on the type of foundation you have. If building a new home, speak to your builder about construction options that may reduce your risk. Every new home should be tested for radon by the homeowner after occupancy.

What if I get an unacceptably high reading? Radon concentrations in a home can usually be lowered by: reducing the emission from the ground into the building (for example, sealing cracks in cement foundations), and increasing the ventilation in basements and other enclosed areas where radon accumulates.

Is the remediation work costly? Costs typically range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the amount and type of work needed. Please note that radon ‐ reduction mediation techniques may also result in energy savings and lower your utility bills

Will radon lower my property values? That depends on individual buyers. Some might be scared off, whereas others might feel more comfortable knowing the owner has looked for radon and, where applicable, done the remediation.

Does Saskatchewan & Alberta have radon “hot spots”? Radon levels vary not only from one geographic area to another, but from house to house. A survey conducted by Health Canada in the 1970s showed that radon levels in certain Canadian cities were higher than in others. However, these same studies showed that it is impossible to predict whether any one house will have a high level of radon. Your home may have very little radon gas, while your neighbour’s house has significant levels.

How safe are multi‐unit dwellings? Based on past experience, multi‐story apartment buildings are much less likely to have radon problems.

How safe are public facilities (hospitals and schools)? Government and Certain jurisdictions are currently testing for radon, for example they are testing school divisions that wish to have their facilities tested. Initial testing has been completed. In the case of health care facilities, officials from Saskatchewan Health will work with Regional Health Authorities and other stakeholder groups to ensure that owners/operators of these facilities have the necessary information to determine the safety of their facilities, and collectively determine if strategies to address radon need to be developed to maintain safe facilities.

Fill out the form to the right to test your home of office for Radon.

What Percentage of Lung Cancers are Caused by Asbestos?

What Percentage of Lung Cancers are Caused by Asbestos?
Worldwide, asbestos causes a death every 5 minutes. Based on this fact, you would think that asbestos would be included in the Rotterdam Convention list of hazardous substances. Unfortunately, this is not the case because Canada still refuses to be a signatory to this document. This is very disappointing, particularly because it is a proven fact that exposure to asbestos is deadly. In the words of the Globe and Mail, Canada has a chronic problem with asbestos because of our backward stance on this issue.
What is perhaps even more troubling is the fact that the actual death toll from asbestos is probably higher because asbestos is not the cause identified for all cases of lung cancer. Recently, a Canadian study concluded that 3% of all lung cancers were caused by occupational exposure to asbestos.
According to the GloboCan fact sheet there are approximately 1.6 million cases of lung cancer each year. If you apply the findings of the Canadian study, this means that approximately 48,000 more cases of cancer are caused by exposure to asbestos. Considering that the mortality rate of lung cancer is approximately 80%, this means that nearly 39,000 new deaths are caused by exposure to asbestos.
Putting this into perspective, according to the WHO, 107,000 people die from asbestos each year. If you factor in the the Canadian study which concludes that 3% of lung cancers are actually caused by asbestos exposure, then the actual death rate is nearly 146,000 per year, nearly 37% more deaths from asbestos.
Considering that 125 million people are exposed to asbestos at the workplace each year and the fact that disease from asbestos exposure manifests itself 20 years later, the sad reality is the number of deaths from asbestos will continue to rise. Canada’s refusal to demonstrate leadership with respect to the inclusion of asbestos on the Rotterdam Convention list of hazardous substances simply makes this situation worse because it is clear that the use of asbestos should be banned throughout the world
Further Reading
Saskatchewan, First Canadian Province, to Create Asbestos Registry
Canadian Asbestos Regulations
How Many People Die From Asbestos Each Year?
10 Interesting Facts About Asbestos in the USA [Infographic]
Renovating? Read This Message From Our President!

10 Interesting Historical Facts About Asbestos [Infographic]
ADAO – Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
The Asbestos Epidemic in America
WHO | Asbestos: elimination of asbestos-related diseases
The Jig Is Up For The Asbestos Industry!
Canada’s Asbestos Industry Could End!
Elliot Lake, Ontario Residents Exposed to Asbestos Dust
Should I Be Concerned About Asbestos?
The Politics of Asbestos: Canada’s Ugly Secret
Quebec Pumps $58 Million into Certain Death
The Asbestos Abatement Process
Why is Asbestos so Scary?
Got Asbestos?
Asbestos Removal and Abatement
Asbestos Is The “Ideal Carcinogen”

Got Asbestos?

Got Asbestos?
For half a century until the 1980s, asbestos was widely used in the construction of homes and buildings. Health concerns led to a decreased use in asbestos in North America in the early 1980s because it was proven that air borne asbestos fibers cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Until recently, Canada was an exporter of asbestos, primarily to developing countries.
Despite the fact that asbestos is no longer used, there are still many homes and buildings in Canada that pose health risks to their occupants. The only way to determine if asbestos fibers are air borne is to have the air quality tested. If the test proves positive, then the asbestos must be removed.
Though our name is got mold?™, and we specialize in mold removal and remediation, like many environmental air quality specialists, we also offer asbestos removal services. To ensure that our clients have peace of mind, we use a Third Party independent clearance sampling firm to make sure the job is done properly.
To learn more about our asbestos removal service, give us a call. We are here to help!