Our environment contains different kinds of radiation. Light, heat and sound are all types of radiation. Ionizing radiation is a type that can be harmful to your health.
About half of the ionizing radiation we're exposed to exists naturally in rock, soil, and the atmosphere. The other half comes from artificial sources, such as medical tests or treatments, and nuclear power plants. You may be exposed to more radiation than other people if you live at high altitude. Your exposure may also be greater if you have had certain medical tests or treatments such as X-rays, CT scans or radiation for cancer.
Over time, exposure to ionizing radiation may cause cancer and other health problems. Your cancer risk depends on the radiation source and amount of exposure, the number of exposures over time, and your age at exposure.
Radon gas occurs naturally and poses little risk outside. However, this gas can enter your home from the soil. If levels of radon gas build up in your home, it may expose you and your family to additional ionizing radiation. About 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths in Canada are due to indoor radon exposure.
Homes in interior or northern BC typically show higher levels of radon. There may also be higher radon levels in homes elsewhere in the province.
You can test your home for radon. If the levels are high, there are steps you can take to greatly reduce your radon exposure.