Last month, we dispelled 5 myths related to radon. This month we tackle 5 more misconceptions. To read Part 1 of this blog, click here.
1) Help! I’m worried my granite countertop is releasing large amounts of radon.
Fact: Radon is in fact produced by granite, which contains varying levels of uranium. Certain granites may contain more natural uranium that others, and therefore, may produce more radiation. In 2010, Health Canada conducted a study on granite purchased in Canada, and found that the granite produced no significant levels of radon. Radon generally occurring in the air of the home is the main concern. If high levels of radon are found, it may be beneficial to look at other sources such as granite.
2) The only source of radon in my home is the soil.
Fact: Radon from the soil is the largest contributor to the accumulation of the radioactive gas in the home. That being said, water from underground sources, such as wells, can also contribute to radon levels in the home. The concern is not about the ingestion of this water, but rather the inhalation of water vapour that contains radon. During daily household use of well water radon can escape from the water and enter the air. It is then inhaled. This is not of particular concern for those who use city water, because this water moves through the treatment process and pipes; and therefore, contains minimal radon by the time it enters the home.
If you’ve completed a radon test to determine the levels in the air in the home and have found that the levels are elevated, and your water comes from a well, it is suggested that you have your water tested.
3) There’s no radon in our home, we live on sandy soil.
Fact: It is true that some types of soil have higher uranium contents than others. For instance, granites and dark shale may contain larger amount of uranium than sandy soil. While a home may be directly sitting on sandy soil, it is difficult to know the soil composition underneath the sand, and therefore, the potential for radon is still there.
4) Radon testing only takes 2-7 days, right?
Fact: There are two common types of radon detectors: short term and long term detectors. The short term detector can be placed for a period of 2-7 days, whereas a long term detector is placed for a period of 1-12 months, preferably 3-12 months based on Health Canada recommendations.
The longer the detector is left in the home, the more accurate the reading will be because the radon concentration inside a home varies on a daily and even hourly basis. The purpose is to obtain the average radon level of the home.
5) Testing for radon in my home for 3 months anytime throughout the year is good enough.
Fact: If you would like to test your home for a period of 3 months, this is ideally done between October and April when our windows and doors are shut and there is less circulation of the air in the home. During the rest of the year, there can be increased ventilation in home, and therefore, radon does not accumulate to the levels it would in the winter.