School District #83 to will be testing its schools for radon gas as a precaution, as advised by Health Canada. (Wikimedia Commons image)

Schools to be tested for radon gas

School District #83 says testing precautionary, to determine if any action is needed

School District #83 is planning precautionary radon testing in all district schools for the fall.

Operations manager Trevor Bettcher clarifies this testing is just a preventative measure, and there is currently no indication of increased radon levels in district schools.

However, Health Canada has made a recommendation that all schools and public buildings should be regularly tested for the presence of radon, and the district plans to initiate its own tests.

Read More: CSRD board educated on dangers of radon gas by experts

Read More: “Hangry” kids prompts petition for longer lunch time at B.C. elementary schools

Radon is a radioactive gas formed naturally by the breakdown of uranium residues in soil, rock and water. It cannot be detected by human senses, but is easily tracked using basic measurement equipment. When occurring outdoors, the radon presence is almost universally too low to be of concern, but when it finds a way into enclosed spaces it can become a cause of lung cancer.

According to Health Canada, there is no Canadian regulation marking an acceptable level of radon in buildings. However, Health Canada recommends frequent testing of residences and public buildings, and says action to reduce the presence of radon should be taken if measurements exceed 200 becquerels per cubic metre (a becquerel, or Bq, is a standard unit of measurement for radioactivity).

Health Canada clarifies that risks associated with radon exposure below this amount are very minimal, but because radon is a radioactive gas there is no ‘safe’ level and it should be kept at as low of a level as possible.

Bettcher says the school district’s operations team are doing the planning in the spring, but won’t be initiating testing until the fall. The best time to test a building for radon levels is during the fall and winter months when windows and doors are typically closed and less air circulation displaces the presence of radon gas.

Read More: A leading cause of lung cancer remains an unknown to most people

Read More: Wildlife artists contribute inspirational works to outdoor school

Testing won’t require any closures or large equipment. Passive sensors will be hung in different areas of the schools for at least three months, and monitoring will provide the average presence of radon over time. After measurements are complete, results will be sent to authorities and the district will plan for mitigation if necessary.


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Update: Highway 3 reopened following rockslide near Keremeos

The slide occurred Friday March 22, at about 8 p.m. between Red Bridge and Standing Rock

Active burn pile prompts firefighter response in Salmon Arm

Reports of residential fire, thick smoke was from burning construction material

Rock slide forces rural Keremeos residents to leave their homes

Witness describes boulders bigger than her car

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: goodbye sun, hello rain

Environement Canada forcasts clouds and rain for the weekend and beyond

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

Okanagan woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Vernon road closed again following landslide

The road that was reopened Thursday morning was closed again Friday following geotechnical engineer report.

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Most Read