Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed naturally by the breakdown of uranium. Radon gas is slowly released from soil, rock and water, and also some building materials that contain small amounts of uranium, such as concrete, bricks, tiles, and gyproc. You cannot see, smell or taste radon. When radon gas escapes from the ground outdoors it mixes with fresh air and gets diluted to low concentrations that do not pose a health risk. However, in some confined spaces, like homes, radon can accumulate to relatively high levels and become a health hazard.
Recent scientific studies have linked an increased risk of developing lung cancer to exposure to radon at levels found inside some homes. Radon cannot be detected by the senses. It has no colour, odour or taste. However, it can be detected with special instruments.
Testing is the only way to find out how much radon is in your home, so it is important to test no matter where you live. Some areas of Nova Scotia have a higher risk of radon because of the local geology.
The radon risk map for Nova Scotia from Department of Natural Resources website shows areas with high, medium and low risk.
Test results have shown that 40% of buildings in the high risk areas exceed the radon guideline. In the medium risk areas, 14% of buildings exceed the guideline and in the low risk areas 5% exceed the guideline. These results tell us that even homes in low risk areas should be tested.