Tarion’s Tips for New Homeowners for Protecting Themselves Against Radon

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers; action against excessive exposure can help save lives

TORONTO — November is Radon Action Month, and Tarion, a not-for-profit consumer protection organization that administers Ontario’s new home warranty program, is helping raise awareness of the dangers of excessive radon exposure in new homes.

According to Health Canada, 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths in Canada are attributed to indoor radon exposure. This invisible radioactive gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoking. In Canada, more than 3,300 lung cancer deaths are related to radon each year.

“The fall and winter months are often the best time for homeowners to test for radon because that’s when our houses tend to be sealed with windows and doors shut from the cold air,” says Peter Balasubramanian, President & Chief Executive Officer, Tarion. “For many of us, radon may be a forgotten element on the periodic table, but it’s important to remember that it can pose a serious health risk if levels are excessive.”

Four things homeowners should know about radon protection:

  1. Radon can infiltrate any house through soil or get trapped in enclosed spaces, such as basements or crawl spaces. It can also seep into other parts of the home through gaps or cracks in floors, walls and foundations.
  2. Radon is a concern if levels are above 200 becquerels per cubic metre, which is the safe limit Health Canada has set for it in a home.
  3. Radon is undetectable without proper testing. In Canada, new homes are built to be airtight to keep us warm in winter. Unfortunately, this means radon concentration can easily build up over time because gas can’t escape.
  4. Testing for radon is easy with a certified do-it-yourself radon test kit or by hiring  a certified radon measurement and mitigation professional. Health Canada recommends testing for a minimum of three months to get an accurate measurement.

“We urge new homeowners to test their home for radon starting this November – ahead of winter months when we spend so much time indoors,” says Balasubramanian. “If radon levels are high, the good news is that the Ontario warranty and protection plan includes coverage for remediation of excessive radon levels and new homeowners should work with their builder to address it.”

The warranty covers remediation of radon gas in excess of 200 becquerels per cubic metre, and coverage lasts for up to seven years. If homeowners test and identify excessive levels of radon in their home, they should work with their builder to make a warranty claim. If a homeowner believes they have a radon issue their builder is not addressing, they should reach out to Tarion for further information and assistance.

About Tarion

Tarion is a not-for-profit consumer protection organization designated by the Ontario government to administer the province’s new home warranty program. It has served new homebuyers and new homeowners for 45 years by ensuring that one of their life’s biggest investments is protected in the event that their builder is unwilling or unable to live up to their warranty commitments.

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Andrew Donnachie