what is radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that can seep properties and can represent a health risk for its tenants as it can cause lung cancer. In Canada, radon is taken seriously. Its concentration is measured in becquerels per cubic metre and a guideline has been established: it must not go above 200 Bq/m3 in a property. Generally, radon concentration is not high in Quebec households, but it is better to be safe and take your precautions.

What We Mean When We Talk About Radon

Radon is naturally present on Earth; it comes from the uranium that can be found in its terrestrial crust. So, we find it in the soil all over the planet as well as in underground waters, but with varying levels from one place to another.

The particularity of radon is that it is odourless, tasteless, and colourless, so it is impossible to detect it using our senses. We find it in houses, knowing that it can come through the foundations. Then, it accumulates and can reach high concentration levels, which is dangerous for the tenants’ health.

It seeps in your body, towards the lungs, when we breathe. In high concentrations, it can cause lung cancer, and the risks increase for smokers. It is responsible for over 1,000 deaths per year in Quebec, 60% of them are smokers. It is the second cause of lung cancer, after smoking.


Radon: what are the risks in home?

Outside, radon is harmless as it gets diluted rapidly with the ambient air. However, that is not the case inside. It comes through the basement, cracks in the foundation walls, construction joints, floor drains as well as openings at the level of the evacuation ducts. So, there are several infiltration sources for this gas.

The tightness of Canadian homes, due to winter conditions, plays a role in the accumulation of radon. In a home, radon accumulates more quickly in less ventilated and lower rooms.

Another key point to remember is that it might not appear in your neighbour’s house, but you might find it in yours. To be certain, you must use a dosimeter, a tool that can measure radon concentration.

If the concentration is over 200 Bq/me3 in occupied spaces, you must take corrective measures within less than 2 years if the level is below 600 Bq/m3. On the other hand, the delay is under a year if the level is over 600 Bq/m3.

How can a real estate broker can help you minimize the risks?

Aware of radon-related health risks, the role of a real estate broker is more than important, whether it is to purchase or sell a property. In fact, the broker must ask the owner about radon-related risks and must tell it to all potential buyers.

If the broker has knowledge of a previous radon level higher than 200 Bq/m3, he must check if corrective measures were taken and their results, to protect the seller after the sale.

The broker can also assist the buyer since he tells them for the rules to follow to complete a radon concentration test in the property. For example, a broker can come to an agreement with the potential buyer to conclude an offer that is conditional to the completion of a radon level test.

This way, the buyer can choose a certified professional or do the test himself for 3 months, preferably between September and April. Then he sends the data to a laboratory.

Do you have a real estate project and are concerned with radon-related risks? Do not hesitate to communicate with me, I will gladly help you with my expertise on the subject.

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