It’s time to check your home for radon gas

Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

  • Nov. 28, 2012 10:00 a.m.

Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is a naturally occurring gas found in the ground throughout the world. Most homes that are in contact with the ground will contain some amount of radon gas.

Radon becomes more of a concern when it reaches high levels.  Radon levels vary across the country.  According to Health Canada about seven per cent of the Canadian homes have radon levels that may be putting residents at risk. Here in the B.C. Interior we have some “hot spot” areas with high radon levels in approximately 40 per cent of homes.

Being heavier than air, radon accumulates in low lying areas like basements.  Many houses contain recreation rooms or suites in the basement that are occupied for many hours per day. Radon in combination with tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke can increase the risk substantially. Health Canada estimates that one in three smokers exposed to high radon levels will develop lung cancer.

Radon gas is colourless, odourless and tasteless, so the only way to know if the radon levels in your home are high is to conduct testing. The best time to test your home for radon gas is now through April. During the cooler months windows and doors are often closed and rising warm air in a home draws more radon from the ground.

Testing a home is easy and inexpensive. Testing involves placing a small puck-like kit within the lowest area of the home that could be occupied for more than four hours per day. The kit should remain in that location for a minimum of three months and then be mailed to a laboratory for results.

Just because your neighbours tested their homes and found low results does not mean your home is low too. The test results for your home can be very different. This is because factors beyond the local geology influence the levels within a building.  Essentially, radon takes the path of least resistance, and resistance can vary between homes.  Radon can enter a home through the foundation, including concrete, and more so through cracks in a foundation or dirt floor such as older crawl spaces. It can also enter a home through the ventilation system.

The bottom line is that everyone should test their homes for radon to see if this gas (dubbed as the “silent killer”) is lurking. If elevated radon levels are found, basic measures can be taken to address the problem. Further information on radon can be found on the Health Canada website http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/radon-eng.php

Test kits are available from BC Lung Association. Give them a call at 1-800-665-LUNG (5864).

– Submitted by Greg Baytalan, an air quality specialist with Interior Health.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Couple in crash on Highway 1 mistake North Shuswap for Lower Mainland

Chase RCMP report Mercedes Benz collides with transport truck

Province looking into pollution complaint at Shuswap dairy farm

Farm along the Salmon River has drawn complaints from the Okanagan Indian Band

Salmon Arm RCMP, new immigrants get acquainted at police station

Tour of detachment provides opportunity to explore differences in judicial systems

Shuswap speedskater takes on international competition in Poland

Salmon Arm’s Laura Hall too fourth place with Canadian team

Salmon Arm gives tax break to Canoe Forest Products plywood plant

Company tax bill to be reduced while residential taxpayers to pick up shortfall

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Wet’suwet’en herreditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Laughing ladies and country artists sell out Okanagan venue

Alan Doyle and I Am Woman, Hear Me Laff! back to back sold out

Revelstoke mother and daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Ministry grants SD67 extension to balance books, submit amended budget

The board of trustees voted Monday to acquire outside help to deal with budget concerns

Most Read