Media Coverage

  • Radon project assesses coastal emission risk [PDF] - 533KB

    July 27, 2016 - Gulf Islands Driftwood
  • Radon threat prompts increased homeowner vigilance [PDF] - 2439KB

    April 13, 2016 - Gulf Islands Driftwood
  • More than half of tested homes in Castlegar exceed radon threshold

    By Chris Stedile, Castlegar News

    Castlegar is located withing area 1. Area 1 has a higher concentration and risk of radon.

    In a recent study, over half of homes tested in Castlegar were above the national threshold for radon gas exposure. The threshold sits at 200 Bq/m3.

    This information comes from the BC Lung Association which released the results of the largest ever community-wide home radon testing project done in Canada.

    The project offered free radon test kits to Castlegar homeowners and tenants to test indoor radon levels in their homes. 230 residents participated in the study, of which 158 returned their kits for analysis and 59 per cent tested for high levels of radon within their homes.

    Radon is a colourless, odorless gas and can be found in soil, rocks and water. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer with Health Canada estimating as many as 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths can be attributed to radon exposure.

    The guideline states that residents in any home that tests above threshold should take action to reduce radon levels in their home.

    Britt Swoveland, Provincial Coordinator for RadonAware said, “People shouldn’t panic if they have a radon problem in their home because it’s really exposure over a long term that will cause problems. However, the best time to take action is the present and we encourage homeowners to address the issue as soon as possible.”

    RadonAware has created a manual to help those with a do-it-yourself attitude, install a mitigation system themselves. The option to have a certified mitigation expert do the work for you is also present and all the information needed can be found on their site — RadonAware.ca
    Swoveland said, on average, the installation  of an active soil depressurization system can cost anywhere from $500 - $3000.

    “It’s not just an investment in your health it’s an investment in your home.”

    Newly passed building code changes have made it mandatory for all new homes built in area 1 of B.C. to have a radon venting system. Having one installed in a home you are wishing to sell will only help the process along, Swoveland added.
     

  • Radon: a cancer hazard. Do our homes have high levels?

    January 26, 2015 - The Nelson Daily News

    RADON: A Cancer Hazard. Do Our Homes Have High Levels?

    The Nelson Daily

    Today the BC Lung Association released the results of the largest ever community-wide home radon testing project done in Canada.  Getting more British Columbians to test their homes for radon – the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking - is a priority for the BC Lung Association. As is ensuring people know how to mitigate a radon problem, if one exists.

    During winter 2014, radon test kits were distributed to more than 2000 homes in Prince George and 230 homes in Castlegar and surrounding areas – two areas of the province known to have elevated levels of indoor radon.  
     
    Measured in becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3), Health Canada recommends home radon levels not exceed a safety threshold of 200 (Bq/m3).

    On average, one in three Prince George homes and one in two Castlegar homes tested above Health Canada’s suggested safety threshold.
     
    For comprehensive testing project results, read the Prince George and Castlegar reports posted on the BC Lung Association’s website: RadonAware.ca
     
    “Is radon something British Columbians should think about? Yes. Should we panic? No,” said Scott McDonald, CEO of the BC Lung Association.  “The problem is too few British Columbians know what radon is, where it comes from, and how to fix a problem in your home if you have one.”
     
    “Outside, radon quickly dilutes to safe levels, but when trapped inside can build up to high levels and, over time, may cause lung cancer. The only way to know if you have a problem is to test. One house can have low levels of radon while the house right next door can be very high,” continued McDonald.
     
    “Should your home radon levels be high, there is no reason to be frightened, the problem can be fixed, but we do recommend hiring a certified mitigation professional,” said McDonald.“There are a number of ways to begin addressing the issue.”

    The most effective system for reducing radon levels involves installing an Active Radon Reduction System. This works by drawing the radon gas from beneath the building and venting it outside the home. This is proven to reduce radon levels to nearly undetectable levels.  And in most cases, radon mitigation costs range between $500 and $3,000.

    The BC Lung Association recommends all British Columbians test their homes and ensure home radon levels remain as low as possible. Given the results of the studies, the Association would like to see every home in Prince George and Castlegar tested for radon. To order a radon test kit or find a certified contractor in your region, go to www.RadonAware.ca.
     

    What the Prince George Study Revealed

    • Radon test kits were distributed to 2000 homes across 4 Prince George postal code service areas.
    • 71.5 percent (1436) of tests were returned for analysis after the required 3 month testing period.
    • Overall, 29 percent of homes tested had results that exceeded Health Canada’s radon exposure guideline for mitigation

    What the Castlegar Project Revealed

    • Radon test kits were distributed to 230 homes in Castlegar and surrounding areas.
    • 68.7 percent (158) of tests were returned for analysis after the required 3 month testing period.
    • Overall, 59 percent of homes tested had results that exceeded Health Canada’s radon exposure guideline.

     

  • 59% of tested Castlegar homes have high radon levels

    January 26, 2015 - The Goat Radio (Kootenay Region)

    The Goat Radio Station - Kootenay Region

    Over half of homes tested for radon gas in Castlegar have levels above the national threshold.

    This from the BC Lung Association as it releases the results of the largest community-wide testing ever undertaken in Canada.

    59% of the homes that returned test kits in Castlegar exceeded Health Canada’s radon exposure guideline.The figure was about 30% in a Prince George study.

    The association’s Britt Swoveland says this points to the need for all British Columbians to test their homes.

     

  • Nearly 1 in 3 Prince George Homes Have High Levels of Radon

    By Elaine Macdonald, 250News.com

    Radon test results for Prince George are in – image courtesy BC Lung Association RadonAware Project

    Prince George, B.C. – Radon, a silent, colourless, odourless, gas which is created by the decay of uranium.  It is considered the number 2 cause of lung cancer and it could be present in your home.

    Prince George was the site of a detailed study on radon, and the results are in. 

    More than 2000 radon detection kits were distributed in the community to register the levels of radon in homes throughout the City.

    Radon is measured in becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3), Health Canada recommends home radon levels not exceed a safety threshold of 200 (Bq/m3).

    The Prince George test results show that of the 1,426 test kits submitted, nearly one in three registered radon above that Health Canada threshold.

    The study broke down the city into four postal code areas as show on the map on the right.

    Britt Swoveland is the Provincial RadonAware Coordinator for the BC Lung Association. She  says there was no surprise as to the  presence of radon in Prince George as there was some historical data to indicate there were radon issues  in the community “If  we look at all the tests we got back,  29% are over the   Health Canada  safety threshold, so  certainly  the message coming out of it is  if folks  haven’t  tested their homes,  they should, regardless  of where they live in the community.”

    The testing costs about $30 dollars.  “You typically deploy (the test) for three months, up to a year because you want to capture the winter months when your home is closed up.”   If your test indicates higher than acceptable levels of radon, there is a plan to fix the problem.  A renovation can be done that will vent the radon through a pipe, rather than have it seep into your home.  New building code regulations mean all new construction must provide for radon dispersion.

  • 50% of Castlegar homes tested show high radon levels

    January 27, 2015 - MyEzRock Radio (Kootenay Region)

    50-percent of Castlegar homes tested, show high radon levels

    Kelly McLean - EZ Rock News

    The BC Lung Association has released the results of the largest ever community-wide home radon testing project done in Canada.

    During the winter of 2014, radon test kits were distributed to 230 homes in the Castlegar and surrounding area.

    According to Britt Swoveland, Provincial RadonAware Coordinator one in two Castlegar homes tested above Health Canada's suggested safety threshold.

    If you test high for Radon Swoveland says its an easy fix, which involves installing an Active Radon Reduction System
     
    For more information head to www.RadonAware.ca.


     

  • Lung month has just passed but still time to protect your lungs and get your home tested

    December 3, 2014, Osoyoos Times

    Lil Rusch, Volunteer BC Lung Association Director for Osoyoos, encourages B.C. homeowners to test for radon gas. Exposure to the colourless, odourless radioactive gas is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

    Exposure to colourless, odourless radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the ground.

    It can seep undetected into homes, schools, workplaces and other buildings through cracks in the walls or foundation.

    “Radon gas is accountable for up to 16 per cent of lung cancers. We suggest all B.C. homeowners test their home’s radon levels,” says Lil Rusch, Volunteer BC Lung Association Director for Osoyoos.

    When radon is released into the atmosphere, it gets diluted. But if it finds its way into your home it can accumulate to high levels, and that’s when it can become dangerous.

    In a few areas, depending on local geology, radon dissolves into ground water and can be released into the air when the water is used. Radon gas usually exists at very low levels outdoors. However, in areas without adequate ventilation, such as underground mines, radon can accumulate to levels that substantially increase the risk of lung cancer.

    Being exposed to high doses of radon over a long period of time is a serious lung cancer risk.

    “Should British Columbians be concerned about radon exposure? Yes, absolutely. Should they panic? No,” says Britt Swoveland, Provincial RadonAware Co-ordinator for the BC Lung Association. “Virtually every house in B.C. contains some radon. The question is, how much? The only way to know for certain, is to test.”

    Measured in becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3), Health Canada recommends home radon levels not exceed a safety threshold of 200 (Bq/m3).
    As there is no known safe level of exposure, the BC Lung Association recommends making every effort to minimize home radon levels.

    “One house can have radon levels next to zero while the house next door can be off the charts,” continued Swoveland. “And if your radon levels are high, it’s not hard to fix. A certified radon mitigation professional can reduce radon levels in most homes by more than 80 per cent for about the same cost as other common home repairs, rarely more than $1,500 to $3,000.”

    To order a radon test kit, to find a certified radon mitigation and learn more about how radon affects your lung health, go to the BC Lung Association’s website RadonAware.ca or call the BC Lung Association toll-free at 1-800-665-5864.
     

  • November is Lung Month: protect your lungs, get your home tested

    November 20, 2014, The Nelson Daily

    Exposure to colourless, odourless radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the ground. It can seep undetected into homes, schools, workplaces and other buildings through cracks in the walls or foundation.

    “Radon gas is accountable for up to 16 per cent of lung cancers. We suggest all BC homeowners test their home’s radon levels,” says Michael Jessen, Volunteer BC Lung Association Director for Nelson.

    When radon is released into the atmosphere, it gets diluted. But if it finds its way into your home it can accumulate to high levels, and that’s when it can become dangerous.

    Being exposed to high doses of radon over a long period of time is a serious lung cancer risk.

    “Should British Columbians be concerned about radon exposure? Yes, absolutely. Should they panic? No,” says Britt Swoveland, Provincial RadonAware Coordinator for the BC Lung Association.

    “Virtually every house in BC contains some radon. The question is, how much? The only way to know for certain, is to test.”

    Measured in becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3), Health Canada recommends home radon levels not exceed a safety threshold of 200 (Bq/m3).

    As there is no known safe level of exposure, the BC Lung Association recommends making every effort to minimize home radon levels.

    “One house can have radon levels next to zero while the house next door can be off the charts,” continued Swoveland.

    “And if your radon levels are high, it’s not hard to fix. A certified radon mitigation professional can reduce radon levels in most homes by more than 80 per cent for about the same cost as other common home repairs, rarely more than $1,500 to $3,000.”

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What is radon? Radon is an odourless, colourless radioactive gas produced by the natural breakdown of uranium in the soil. It leaks into homes through cracks in the foundation or walls and gaps around pipes.

    How does radon cause lung cancer? Radon particles can get trapped deep in the lungs when inhaled and can cause tissue damage that leads to lung cancer over time. One in 20 people exposed to high levels of radon over a long period of time are at risk of developing lung cancer. If you are also a smoker, the risk increases to one in three.Up to 16 percent of lung cancer deaths in Canada are linked to radon exposure.

    What can I do? Start with a home radon test. Home testing is easy and relatively inexpensive. A radon test kit costs around $30 and is available from hardware stores and online through the BC Lung Association’s website: RadonAware.ca. The test consists of leaving a testing device exposed to the air on the lowest level of your home that you regularly use for at least four hours a day (basement or ground floor) for at least three months. Then you send it in to the testing company as directed and wait for your results.

    What do radon test results mean? Measured in becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3), Health Canada recommends home radon levels not exceed a safety threshold of 200 (Bq/m3).   As there is no known safe level of exposure, the BC Lung Association recommends making every effort to minimize home radon levels.

    How do I fix a radon problem? The term used for removing radon in a home is ‘mitigation.’ If your home tests high for radon, the best method for reducing levels will depend on how radon enters your home and the design of your home. We recommend hiring a certified radon mitigation professional. A fix usually costs between $1,500 and $3,000, but costs vary depending on the size and design of your home.

    To order a radon test kit, to find a certified radon mitigation and learn more about how radon affects your lung health, go to the BC Lung Association’s website RadonAware.ca or call the BC Lung Association toll-free at 1-800-665-5864.
     

  • Regulations reduce radon

    NOVEMBER 19, 2014 - Castlegar News

    Regulations reduce radon

    By Chris Stedile, Castlegar News

    The BC Lung Association is elated to hear news that the B.C. government has decided to enforce stronger radon safety precautions in all future homes.

    Effective Dec. 19, to pass inspection and obtain occupancy permits, all new housing in Area 1 of B.C. (see map diagram) must have a radon vent-pipe that extends from beneath the basement floor of the house and safely exhausts to the outdoors through the attic and out the roof.

    This system is also known as a Passive Radon Reduction System.

    The timing could not have been better as November is Radon Action Month.

    “This is a huge gain for protecting public health,” said Britt Swoveland, Provincial RadonAware Coordinator for the BC Lung Association. “B.C.’s new radon building code protection requirement is among the strongest in Canada, and sets an example for other provinces to follow.”

    Radon is a colourless, odorless, radioactive gas that is the result of uranium breaking down beneath the soil, and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

    Swoveland stated that radon can easily build up to dangerous levels in a cramped space ­— such as a basement — and if left unchecked can cause serious health altercations.

    “Our research confirmed building regulations for radon currently in place were having little effect and substantiated the need for code changes,” said Phil Markin, building services director for the City of Castlegar and radon study partner.

    Current code regulations only required the rough-in of a pipe from beneath a home’s basement floor extending up through the slab floor and capped off.

    This is also known as a capped pipe system.

    “Our findings established the minimum requirement for effective home radon protection in new construction should be the installation of a radon vent pipe,” said Swoveland. “But it’s important to note that while our study confirmed installation of a radon vent pipe consistently reduced radon levels, it didn’t consistently succeed in reducing radon below the Health Canada recommended safety threshold.”

    To achieve further radon dispersal Swoveland recommends homeowners upgrade their venting system to an Active Radon Reduction System.

    All this is, is a fan added to the top of the vent allowing radon to be pulled through the pipe system at a more efficient rate.

    During the winter of 2014, the BC Lung Association partnered with the City of Castlegar to assess the effectiveness of the current capped pipe systems in place, compared to the new pipe venting  system.

    Research was conducted in 16 homes in the Castlegar/Nelson area and in Prince George. In Oct. 2014, results were shared with the Ministry Responsible for Housing, Building and Construction Standards Branch.

    “In the future, we suggest the government consider radon testing be required as a condition of new home occupancy, and, where test results are high, the addition of a fan be required,” added Swoveland.

    “The good news for now is that a homeowner can, if warranted, fairly easily and inexpensively add a fan themselves.”

    For any homeowners concerned about radon levels, test kits are available to purchase.

    “You don’t know unless you test,” Swoveland added. “The test kit is inexpensive and convenient.  Everyone should test their homes.”

    “Is radon something British Columbians should be wary of? Yes. Should we panic? No,” said Swoveland. “But we do encourage all British Columbians to test their homes, and to mitigate if radon levels are high.”

     

  • Building Code: New Radon Requirements [PDF] - 330KB

    SEPTEMBER 19 - 2014 - On December 19, 2014,new requirements for protection from soil gases become effective.BC Building Code provisions for the rough-in for a subfloor depressurization system require installation of a radon vent pipe which extends through, and terminates outside the building.