Radon Research Series

Inhalation of radioactive radon gas within the built environment is a leading cause of lung cancer, with Canadian exposures being amongst the highest globally. All areas of Canada have proven to have the risk of long-term lung irradiation with cancer-causing doses (100 Bq/m³ or higher) of radon.

Differences within the built environment are a primary driver of radon level differences between properties, with newer and larger residential homes with fewer storeys containing even higher levels than older, smaller, and multi-storey equivalents. Largely, the way a given residential property ‘breathes’ – meaning the dynamic manner in which fresh and stale air is exchanged and moves within a home – is a critical factor in why some homes have high radon and others (perhaps right next door) have low radon.

Over the past five years, we have identified nearly a dozen separate property metrics that work together to influence building air dynamics and radon levels.

These include the status of, but not limited to:

  • Windows
  • Chimneys
  • The Roof
  • Insulation
  • Heating Type

By understanding this in detail, we are working towards a more effective way of risk prediction and (potentially) points of modification to ‘radon-proof’ future properties.

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