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.