Radon is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soils and rocks. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. More information about radon can be found here.
Health Canada's acceptable radon concentration level in homes is 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3).
Test your home for radon
Get a radon testing kit
- Buy a test kit in Whitehorse – kits are available at the electrical desk at Home Hardware in Whitehorse with a $10 subsidy from the Yukon Lung Association.
- You can pick up free test kits at Yukon Housing offices in Carcross, Carmacks, Dawson, Faro, Haines Junction, Mayo, Ross River, Teslin and Watson Lake.
- Order a test kit. Make sure the test kit will be analyzed in Canada and will test your home for at least 3 months.
- Test your home for radon during the winter when your windows are closed.
Hire a certified radon measurement professional
- They will consult with you about the radon levels in your home and make a plan to reduce them to safe levels.
- Find a list of certified professionals.
Radon and lung cancer
The amount of radon gas in the open air is very small. It can accumulate to higher levels in confined spaces like basements, crawlspaces. Inhaling radon gas particles can damage bronchial and lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. Radon is the:
- 2nd leading cause of lung cancer after smoking; and
- the leading cause of lung cancer for people who have never smoked. This depends on the concentration of radon gas and the number of years a person is exposed.
- Smokers are more at risk to developing cancer in relation to long-term radon exposure
The risk from radon exposure is long term and depends on 3 things:
- the level of radon,
- how long you are exposed, and
- your smoking habits.
Radon and smoking
The combination of long-term exposure to radon in a home, and smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke can significantly increase the risk of lung cancer. It is estimated 1 in 3 smokers who are exposed to high radon over their lifetime will develop lung cancer.
Consider quitting smoking: www.quitpath.ca
Radon in Yukon
There is radon in all Yukon communities and every subdivision in Whitehorse.
Each home is different. Radon levels will be different based on:
- the geology of an area;
- ground composition;
- house construction; and
- local environmental conditions. This includes wind exposure, weather, soil type and the amount of radon in the ground under the home.
Find the results of radon tests in your community
This radon map shows where there are radon test results for homes in Yukon between 2006 to 2018. Efforts are underway to update this map with more recent results.
The percentage of tested homes to date is low.
The graphs show the average radon concentrations in the homes sampled in a given area. The ranges shown are:
- under 100 Bq/m3;
- 100 to 200 Bq/m3;
- 200 to 600 Bq/m3 ; and
- over 600 Bq/m3.
After you get your test results
If you've tested your home and the results are over the recommended (200 Bq/m3) amount you can contact a certified professional in your area. They will let you know how to reduce the radon levels in your home.
Health Canada recommends reducing radon levels below 200 Bq/m3 within:
- 1 year if the radon test indicates levels above 600 Bq/ m3; and
- 2 years if the concentrations are between 200 and 600 Bq/m3.