Skip to main content

RADON TESTING APRIL - AUGUST?: 6 MONTH RADON TEST ENCOURAGED  

Thank you for your interest in testing with the Evict Radon National Study

The Evict Radon National Study is a national research study involving researchers and scientific partners from across Canada who are dedicated to solving Canada’s significant and worsening radon-gas exposure problem. Radon is a substantial cause of lung cancer even in non-smokers. By testing your home with our at-cost, research-grade radon test kits and enrolling in our national, public university-based research study, you are helping researchers from across Canada to understand radon exposure and develop new ways to protect ourselves and loved ones.

Common practice stated that winter is the optimal time to radon test. However, as we collect more data, we have determined little difference between winter and spring radon testing. We do, however, encourage our participants to test over seasonal change. At this time, the best and most accurate radon readings obtained during the spring and summer months are those that are longer than 6 months. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Your Questions, Answered. Want to Know More? Contact us below.

Testing Process

The test is done at cost. Evict Radon is a research funded project and we do not make a profit from the sale of test kits.

Our scientists perform hundreds of control tests to ensure quality and accuracy. These tests include blanks (un-exposed tests put through the whole process to ensure the quality), duplicates (you may receive a second test device at no cost, which must be placed side-by-side with the first test so we can ensure reproducibility of readings) and spiked positives (tests we send to labs to be exposed to known amounts of radon, to ensure that devices are accurate).

As long as your test device remains sealed in the industrial grade plastic bag it arrives in (no punctures), then you can deploy it in the next available testing season (next available Fall). A test can be initiated any time from early September to early March to obtain a suitable 90+ day test within period recommended by Health Canada.

Most frequently, this is because something went wrong when you registered your device or your email has blocked the email from the lab with your report.

If you still have your commission ID & password, you can check for yourself. Click ‘end my test’ at the top of our website to access the log-in to the lab website directly. Log in using your ID and password. If your lab report is available, you will see a button with ‘download report’. 

It can take 4-8 weeks to get your results depending on a number of factors such as shipping time. If it has been longer than that, send us an email at [email protected] and we will do our best to track down your results. 

 

Place your test device on the lowest regularly occupied level of your home. We have detailed placement advice here.

Although radon levels are typically highest in the basement, you want to test the air that you are most often breathing. In some cases, you might only go down to the basement a few minutes a week (to do laundry or check the furnace, for example). In that case, place the test on the next floor up. In other cases, you might not spend 4+ hours per day in the basement, but may go down for 0.5-4 hours some days and 4+ hours others. In those cases, it makes sense still to test the basement, as you are breathing that air for prolonged periods. This is especially true if you have any exercise equipment in the basement, as while using that you will be breathing more heavily and so be exposed to more of the radon in that air.

Generally speaking, if you are carrying out major renovations to the property, you should wait until they are completed before testing for radon. These include things such as: developing a basement, replacing the roof or windows, installing new furnaces or air conditioning units, installing or removing fireplaces, installing or removing fans, installing or exchanging building insulation and other major changes that may impact how air is leaving, entering or being retained in the property. Minor renovations, such as painting walls, changing carpets, or replacing appliances will not impact a radon reading and so are not a reason to delay testing.

We advise that new homes should only be tested in the second winter from the time the foundation was built. That is because the foundation will continue to “cure” (shrink) for 18 months from the time it was poured. As it cures, the gaps between the foundation and the walls of the basement will change, impacting how radon enters the home.

For detailed instructions on the return process, please visit click here.

No problem, it happens. 

Once you have completed the 90+ day test, you’ll need to end your device by visiting www.stg-evictradon-staging.kinsta.cloud and clicking ‘end my test’. Once you have done that, you are ready to send the device back to the lab. The device is durable and can be placed as is, into a shipping box or padded envelope. Ensure you tape the box or seal the envelope. Follow the return instructions and take the device to the nearest post office.

This is only relevant for participants who purchased their radon detection kit(s) before November 26th 2021. 

For all participants who purchased their radon testing kits from our study before the end of November 2021, these versions of our kits do not include pre-paid return shipping and use a slightly different device and process (that was not available prior to this date).

If you have one of these kits (the easiest way to tell is if you have a round, ‘hockey puck’ shaped device) then, when your testing period ends (whenever that might be), you will have to ship the device to the to the North American collection hub (which is in Illinois, USA) using the address provided in your kit or here.

Just as a reminder, NONE of your data is held in the USA, and your test is not going to be ‘read’ in the USA. All data is held on either Canadian or EU servers, both subject to incredibly rigorous data privacy regulations. 

Please see our returned shipping details here.

 

Canada is now at the stage where it is no longer sufficient to just promote person-by-person radon testing, we need system-wide change. Basic radon testing programs have been in operation for decades, from many, many organizations, yet homes continue to be constructed containing more and more radon, and cases of never-smoker (radon-attributable) lung cancers continue to rise. By testing your home with one of our Evict Radon study test kits, you’re automatically enrolled into the largest Canadian multi-university research study operating today. Each participant is helping public university-based researchers across Canada understand radon exposure and develop new ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The Evict Radon national study team embraces research strategies across disciplines to gain the information necessary to:

  • Learn how to engineer radon out of our buildings (before they are even built).
  • Identify who are the most at risk from radon exposure in society, and how to support them.
  • Make meaningful changes to radon reduction policies across sectors.

This must be done by strictly adhering to national research ethics standards, as well as best practices for controlled studies that will pass academic peer-review and, ultimately, very close scrutiny from the public and experts. Achieving this is very possible and, if successful, will transform the ability to prevent lung cancers caused by radon.

At this time, digital and continuous radon monitors are not officially endorsed by Health Canada as a complete assessment of their utility and reliability is still ongoing.

However, our team has used some of these devices in our research and find that, if properly calibrated, they do produce radon readings that are reasonably comparable to those provided by approved alpha track or electret radon test devices.

Our preliminary analysis (published in our 2019 Scientific Reports article) indicates an approximately 80% agreement between digital and ‘traditional’ radon test devices. We must CAUTION any users of a digital device not to give in to the temptation of taking hourly or even daily/weekly readings too seriously, as radon can and will vary A LOT over the short term, as a function of weather, season, behaviour and even geologic and building factors. So, just as for any radon device, only a long term average (performed for at least 90 days) of radon collected by a digital monitor should be taken at all seriously.

Generally we advise retests under these conditions:

  1. If you’ve done some renovations or related things that may have altered the way your home “breathes” and air flows within it. Things like this would include, for example, a new furnace, developing a basement, getting new windows or changing the level of window glazing, adding or removing a window/door/wall, adding or decommissioning a chimney, adding new roof insulation, getting a new roof, getting AC, adding HRV to the heating system… and things like that.
  2. Radon professionals recommend a retest every 5 years. If you wish to retest your home with Evict Radon, our kits are sold year-round. 

If you want to support a scientific study through Canadian Universities, we offer an at-cost kit for $53.99 through the Evict Radon National Study. We use this data to effect change for Canadians. 

Mitigation

The 2010 National Building Code for Canada mandated that homes should be built with both a vapour barrier between the foundation and washed gravel underneath, and a portal for a future radon mitigation device. Different provinces adopted this code at different times. In Alberta, only homes built from early 2016 onwards are likely to have this rough in. In Saskatchewan, homes built mid 2013 onwards are likely to have this. In BC, only homes built early 2013 onwards and in the interior are likely to have this. Homes on the BC coast are still not required to have this. A radon mitigation rough-in is not an active mitigation device. It is there to make it easier and most cost-effective to install a future device.

We have detailed a guide on how to interpret your radon results. To find out more, please click here.

Reducing radon levels can save lives. In some cases, radon levels can be reduced by more than 80%. Hiring a certified Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP) professional will ensure an effective radon reduction. 

According to Health Canada, these units can reduce radon by up to 50%, however, this is not a guaranteed fix as it does not address the core issue of the radon problem. To best address the radon problem, it is recommended to consult a C-NRPP radon professional. Our advice is to ask for at least three quotes from different mitigation companies and treat this as any home renovation. 

The cost of radon mitigation depends on many factors, including but not limited to house type, location, number of storeys etc. Contact a certified Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program provider to determine the best radon reduction method for your home. Our advice is to ask for at least three quotes from different mitigation companies and treat this as any home renovation. 

Radon can be easily prevented from entering most properties. This is usually quick (1-2 days’ work) and, even for the most drastic (but effective) of interventions, it still only costs about the same as replacing a few windows. The important thing to recognize is that determining if your home has high radon will not devalue your property, as it is so easily solved. Homes that have been ‘mitigated’ for high radon tend to have the lowest achievable levels – and have amongst the healthiest of indoor air. In other parts of the world, a radon mitigation device is seen even as a selling feature. When considering mitigation, always find someone with C-NRPP (Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program) certification. C-NRPP certification is approved by Health Canada. 

Sub-slab depressurization (also called active soil depressurization) is the most effective and reliable radon reduction technique. It is also the most common method used by C-NRPP-certified professionals. This method involves installing a pipe through the foundation floor slab and attaching a fan that runs continuously to draw the radon gas from below the home and release it into the outdoors where it is quickly diluted. This system also reverses the air pressure difference between the house and the soil, reducing the amount of radon that is drawn into the home through the foundation. One, or sometimes multiple, suction points are inserted through the floor slab into the crushed rock or soil underneath to effectively reduce the radon level in the home. The sub-slab depressurization pipe is vented at the ground level of the home. The fan can be placed in the basement or an area outside of the living space such as in a garage. If the fan is placed inside the living space of the home, it is usually vented sideways through the rim joist at ground level, with the fan close to the exhaust location. When the fan is placed outside of the living space (e.g. garage) then it is typically vented upwards above the roof. When any active depressurization system is installed, it is recommended to make sure that its operation does not cause back-drafting of combustion appliances such as a furnace, water heater, fireplace, or wood stove in the home. Backdrafting can happen when a room with a combustion appliance is depressurized so much that smoke and combustion gases spill into the home instead of venting outdoors. Backdraft testing may be done by a trained radon-reduction specialist or a heating contractor.

Evict Radon National Study

No, we do not and will not publish radon levels by small regions such as neighbourhoods. Typically, the smallest geographic region we use to describe radon is a city quadrant (for major cities), an entire town or a federal electoral district.

Absolutely not. Blanks and controls are done entirely by the research team, and participants are not a part of that highly controlled process. Participants may receive (chosen at random) a duplicate test at no direct charge, however, and we ask them to be placed side-by-side with the other (identical) test device as this helps us ensure that readings between two devices match perfectly (as would be expected). Please be assured, participants ONLY ever get fully functional devices that will provide them with very accurate results. We know this because of our rigorous quality control process.

We are headquartered at the University of Calgary (AB), however, we have scientists across Canada.

Yes we are! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and X for constant updates through our Radon Knowledge Series, which aims to educate and create awareness about radon.

To join the study, click here, review our consent material and enroll through the online informed consent process. Provide the necessary information and purchase an at-cost radon test kit that will be delivered to your doorstep via Canada Post. Ensure to follow the steps carefully and join the community of individuals dedicated to advancing radon research.

Radon

The Americans actually use a different (older) unit to measure radon – the picocurie (pCi) instead of the Bq that is used in Canada (and the rest of the world). The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the USA action level at 4 pCi/L back in the late 20th century, and this equates to 148 Bq/m3. Their advice, just like Health Canada, is still to aim for as low as reasonably achievable. The WHO deferred to the amount of radon where a statistically observable increasing in lifetime risk of lung cancer is clear and significant – this is 100 Bq/m3. Health Canada set our maximum acceptable reference level at twice this value, with the view that double where we start to see an increase in risk is truly unacceptable. To ensure that you are protected to where there is no significant increase in risk (as science and medicine understands radon), aim to get your home, school and work environment below 100 Bq/m3.

Radon is carcinogenic, and exposure to radon has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer. The objective of this study was to quantify the proportion and number of lung cancer cases in Alberta in 2012 that could be attributed to residential radon exposure. In June 2017, the U of C published a study “Lung cancer incidence attributed to residential radon exposure in Alberta in 2012”. Click here to read the research. 

Radon (²²²Rn) is an invisible, odourless, tasteless and radioactive gas, and it is on the periodic table of elements (#86), can easily be measured and is responsible for 16% of lung cancer deaths in Canada, or more than 3000 deaths per year. Radon gas arises naturally from under the ground (from uranium and radium in the soil) and is often drawn up and contained inside modern buildings to high and cancer-causing levels in indoor air. Residential radon is measured in Becquerels per metre cubed (Bq/m³), where one Bq/m³ represents one atom of radon emitting its radiation every second in a cubic metre of air. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified radon as a group 1 carcinogen (meaning it is absolutely known to cause cancer). Thus, high radon exposure is a human-made problem but is solvable.  

The only way to know your radon exposure levels is to test. The easiest way is to use a cost-effective long-term (at least 90 days) radon test kit recommended by Health Canada. There are other ways to test, such as using an electronic radon detector, however, these can be much more expensive and can be easily misinterpreted. To make a reliable health decision, the test needs to last for at least 90 days because radon naturally fluctuates from hour to hour, and day to day. We have seen homes fluctuate thousands of becquerels per metre cubed within a day. However, what matters for health is the long-term average. By having a greater than 90-day test can account for all of these fluctuations and provide you with a reliable reading to base any health decisions.  For more information click here.

The scientific literature shows that there is a 16% increase in your lifetime relative risk of getting lung cancer for every 100 Bq/m³. This means that if your home level is 400 Bq/m³ you will have a 64% increase in your lifetime relative risk of developing lung cancer. This risk was developed with normal human occupancy patterns, meaning a human who spends 12-14 hours in their primary residence and 8-10 hours outside their primary residence. The only way to know if you’re at risk is to test your home for radon. 

Health and Environment

There are a handful of decommissioned uranium mines on Earth that have been converted into spas by entrepreneurs. These businesses claim that inhaling the radon (which can be extremely high, in the range of 80,000 Bq/m3) has beneficial effects for some diseases such as chronic inflammation. Our take on this claim, whether it is true, purely anecdotal, or that it is false, is not really relevant in terms of domestic radon exposure over a lifetime. Radon is radioactive, and emits alpha radiation which is qualitatively much worse in terms of DNA damage and mutation than other types such as gamma or x-rays. We use radiation as a treatment (medicine) for a variety of diseases; including cancer and inflammatory disease, however, that is under highly controlled circumstances. For therapy, radiation is typically delivered in fast, high doses and most often to elderly patients, or those where the long term risks of radiation are outweighed by the potential benefit. Radiation exposure under those therapeutic circumstances can be viewed as positive – “good for you”, but that does NOT mean we should all expose ourselves to that radiation for every hour of the day for our entire lives, it absolutely does NOT mean we should expose those at the earliest and most sensitive ages (babies and kids) to radiation, and does NOT mean that radiation exposure under uncontrolled circumstances (and where there is no medical need) is at all advisable. So, whilst radiation can be “used for good” in controlled scenarios, that does not preclude the fact that it can and will also cause substantial harm with chronic exposure. The vast majority of the peer-reviewed scientific and medical literature indicates chronic exposure to radon throughout our lives is very dangerous to our health. When encountering information online, we strongly suggest checking the source of that information. Ask yourself – is this person a qualified radiation scientist or medical doctor?

Yes, when the test device goes to the lab, the plastic shell containing the CR-39 chip is recycled immediately into another radon test device, minimizing the environmental impact of this process. Cardboard boxes are also recycled.

No Results