One in two Castlegar homes tested above Health Canada’s Radon threshold

During winter 2014, radon test kits were distributed to more than 230 homes in Castlegar and surrounding areas.

  • Jan. 26, 2015 9:00 a.m.

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.