Radon Awareness Fact Sheet
PSAC Yukon Health and Safety Committee
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas found naturally in the environment. It is produced by the breakdown of Uranium found in soil, rock and water. Radon is invisible, odourless, and tasteless and emits ionizing radiation. 1 Health Effects of Radon: Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada. Radon is estimated to be the cause of 16% of lung cancers.2 The route of the cancer occurs as the radon is inhaled and particles are deposited in the lungs.
Radon in the Yukon
Radon is present in all Yukon communities and every subdivision in Whitehorse to varying degrees. According to a recent Cross Canada Survey by Health Canada, Yukon is ranked as having the third highest percentage of homes that tested above Canada’s national guideline of 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3)3 .
Testing for Radon in your Home/Workplace
Radon testing over the winter months is most effective when there is less ventilation in the building. There are two options for testing a house for radon: Purchase a do-it-yourself radon test kit or hire a radon measurement professional. It is important to lower levels if the test comes back high. Figure out where the Radon is coming in and complete any repairs to block it from coming in. Ask your employer if your facilities have been tested for Radon, if not; insist that it happen as soon as possible!
Government of Canada – Radon: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/radon.html
Canadian Union of Public Employees – Radon: https://cupe.ca/radon
The Lung Association – Radon: https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/air-quality/indoor-air-quality/radon
Canadian Environmental Law Association – Radon: https://www.cela.ca/collections/pollution/radon
World Health Organization – Radon and Health: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/radon-and-health