We are exposed to radon when we breathe in contaminated air. You may be exposed to radon-contaminated air for a variety of reasons:
- Indoor air can have high levels of radon when radon from the soil and rocks around the home seeps in and builds up in enclosed spaces that are poorly ventilated.
- Workplace exposure can occur from air in uranium and other underground mines that naturally have high levels of radon if proper ventilation systems are not in place. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and provincial mining authorities regulate the levels of radon in these mines. Other underground workers, such as subway or tunnel workers, may also be at high risk of radon exposure.
- Outdoor air also contains some radon. Radon levels outdoors or in the open air are usually very low (between 5 and 15 Bq/m3) since the radon gas is continuously diluted by fresh air. Because of this, radon gas is unable to build up to levels high enough to pose a health risk.
- It’s rare, but radon can also be found in water. Radon in water can be a problem when the water is from the ground, such as from private or community wells. Radon is released from the water into the air during normal use such as showering or cooking. However, most communities get water from reservoirs or other open bodies of water where radon concentrations are very low.