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High levels of radon gas prevalence determined in Revelstoke: study

Take Action on Radon performed tests on 120 homes in Revelstoke
Radon detectors. (Contributed by Take Action on Radon)

Results of a recent study have shown that a large percentage of Revelstoke homes show high levels of a dangerous, largely unknown gas which is responsible for more than 3,000 deaths each year in Canada.

Take Action on Radon is a national initiative, funded by Health Canada, that’s leading community projects across the country to try and make testing for radon easier and more accessible.

Radon, a gas which is produced from decaying uranium, is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. “Radon is by far one of the clearest known carcinogens,” said Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol of Take Action on Radon.

It travels upwards from underground and can enter and accumulate in buildings. Radon emits alpha particles that can break DNA bonds, and when breathed in can damage lung tissue.

Take Action on Radon worked alongside the City of Revelstoke to test homes of all ages and sizes for the dangerous gas.

Results from the testing showed that of the 120 homes tested, 46 per cent had levels of radon above the minimum guidelines set in place by Health Canada, and three homes were five times over those levels. More than half of the single detached homes that were tested showed unsafe levels of radon.

Nicol added that mobile homes also aren’t immune to elevated levels of radon.

All individuals who completed testing of their homes have received confidential radon test results.

The group has identified barriers that keep people from testing radon levels in their homes, including the lack of support and isolation people feel when testing their homes because of how new it is.

Compared to it’s neighbours in B.C., Revelstoke is among the highest in terms of homes which tested to have high radon levels, only behind Peachland and Lake Country which showed results of 51 and 52 per cent respectively.

The team at Take Action on Radon emphasized that homes of all ages can have high levels of radon.

In B.C., building codes have radon mitigation infrastructure in place and have to reach certain standards.

However, Pam Warkentin, project manager at Take Action on Radon, said that they’re finding that infrastructure to be poorly constructed in a number of new homes that they’ve tested.

A radon mitigation system can be installed to help homes that have shown high levels of radon.

A fan that draws air up from beneath the foundation and discharges the radon to the outdoors, preventing radon from entering the home. Those working from home can claim the expense of testing their workspace for radon.

According to Take Action on Radon, the regional cost of radon mitigation ranged from approximately $2,000 to $3,300 depending on a range of factors in the home.

Take Action on Radon has distributed over 10,000 kits to 74 communities over the last four years.

To learn more information about how to obtain radon detector kits, visit

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