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Radon Testing

Radon is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and naturally occurring radioactive gas that is formed from the decay of the natural uranium found in soil and rocks.

Radon is found in outdoor air in low concentrations. In indoor environments, radon levels can be much higher. Long term exposure to high concentrations of radon increases a person's risk of developing lung cancer. Radon from natural sources can accumulate in buildings, especially in confined areas such as basements.

Radon testing guidelines

BCCDC and NCCEH have produced guidance on how to test radon levels:

The NCCEH produces many other documents on radon. See the NCCEH document library

Radon reduction in homes

Radon can be significantly reduced in existing homes using simple procedures and protocols. Modified building techniques can be applied to new homes at the construction stage to prevent radon entry. None of these techniques need to be expensive. Home radon testing is offered by a number of companies.

Radon reduction techniques can involve the use of sealant products to close off cracks and gaps in basement floors and walls. Capping drains in the house often proves to be effective. Costs for such work amount to a few hundred dollars for material and labour. Where high radon levels do not respond to the mitigation techniques listed above, the installation of a sub-slab ventilation system that pumps the gas out from beneath the house before it gets in, has proven to be most effective.

For new homes, non-permeable membranes such as plastic sheets can be placed over the sand or gravel base before the concrete foundation is poured. The sheets will prevent radon gas getting in to the home. Attention should be paid to sealing the plastic to the footings and around service entrances. Such construction techniques reduce the likelihood of radon entering the home.

Study of radon levels in BC homes & schools

In 2007, BCCDC performed two studies in the interior of BC to measure radon in homes and radon in schools. Results of the study:

SOURCE: Radon Testing ( )
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