But soil is only one of two primary ways this odourless, invisible and tasteless radioactive gas can enter our homes: the other is through water. (Note: Radon can also enter homes through building materials, to a lesser extent.)
Not every home is at risk, however. When a home’s water supply comes from surface water, radon isn’t a problem as our municipal treatment plants remove the radon. Homes (often rural) that use groundwater for their water supply (such as a private well or public supply that uses groundwater) may be at risk of having radon in its water.
Radon in water can cause harm in two ways: through inhaling the gas and through ingesting it. When radon-infused water is disturbed during daily activities such as showering, washing dishes and cooking, the concentration of radon in the air can increase, which can contribute to radon-induced lung cancer. Drinking water that contains radon is less harmful than inhaling it.
If you are concerned there may be radon in your home, the first step is to test the air. If your home contains radon at a concentration greater than 200 Bq/m3 and your water source is groundwater, you should test the water in your home using a commercial radon-in-water test kit.
If radon is present in your water at a high level, it can be mitigated. There are two main methods that are used: aeration, to displace the radon, and activated carbon treatment, to trap the radon. Aeration is the preferred method for removing high levels of radon as activated carbon only addresses a small percentage of a home’s overall water use.
Do you have concerns about radon in your home? Contact us. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
“Guide for Radon Measurements in Residential Dwellings (Homes).” Health Canada, 2017, https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/health-risks-safety/guide-radon-measurements-residential-dwellings.html. Accessed 21 March 2021.
“A Citizen’s Guide to Radon.” United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2016, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-12/documents/2016_a_citizens_guide_to_radon.pdf. Accessed 21 March 2021.