About Radon

 

What is it and where does it come from?

Radon is a radioactive gas found naturally in the environment. It is produced by the decay of uranium found in soil, rock or water. Radon is invisible, odourless and tasteless and emits ionizing radiation. As a gas, radon can move freely through the soil enabling it to escape to the atmosphere or seep into buildings. When radon escapes from the bedrock into the outdoor air, it is diluted to such low concentrations that it poses a negligible threat to health. However, if a building is built over bedrock or soil that contains uranium, radon gas can be released into the building through cracks in foundation walls and floors, or gaps around pipes and cables.

When 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. In the open air, the amount of radon gas is very small and does not pose a health risk.

Radon is measured in Becquerels/meter cubed (Bq/m3). A Bq (Becquerel) is a scientific term describing one radioactive decay per second. 200 Bq/m3 means that there are 200 radioactive radon particles decaying every second in every cubic meter of air.  Based on the geology in Alberta we are classified as an area with a potential for high radon levels.

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