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October 28, 2017 2:01 am

City Takes Action on Radon

Friday, October 16, 2015 @ 1:06 PM

Prince George, B.C. – Following  a detailed report on  the presence of radon gas in Prince George, ( see previous story) the City of Prince George  has declared November ‘Radon Aware Month”.

The City is also  announcing  some new projects to help homeowners learn  more about  radon, a silent, odourless gas which is the third leading cause of lung cancer  in Canada behind smoking and  second hand smoke.

Radon is a naturally occurring, colourless, odourless gas caused by the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. Health Canada estimates as many as 16 percent of lung cancer deaths can be attributed to radon exposure.

According to a recent Health Canada  survey, 12% of  those living in  B.C.’s Northern Interior, are living in homes where radon levels  are higher than the  actionable guidelines , the results even more alarming in Prince George where 29 percent of Prince George homes have radon levels above Health Canada’s action guideline. Notably, more than half of the homes in the “V2M” area code have radon levels above this threshold..

Working with the BC Lung Association, Northern Health and the Canadian Cancer Society,  the City  is  hoping to raise awareness, identify and mitigate the harmful effects of radon.

Over the course of the month of November, the City will be selling Health Canada recognized indoor radon detection kits at a discount price of $16 to homeowners who  wish to check the radon levels of their home. test_radon The kits will be available at the Service Centre at City hall  as of November 1st.

( at right a typical  radon test kit – image courtesy Health Canada)

As part of a City pilot project,  test kits (not the one shown in the image) will be distributed to new homeowners via building officials and contractors during final building inspections. The results from these tests will help to determine the effectiveness of the new BC Building Code radon protection measures, and if new occupants will need to install an active component to the extended rough-in in their home to mitigate radon levels. The City is also conducting radon testing at all of its civic facilities.

Residents can also get a kit at Northern Health’s Public Health Protection Office at the Prince George Native Friendship Centre (fourth floor – 1600 Third Avenue).

“The best prevention against radon gas is to know if radon is coming into your home or place of  work,” says Dr. Sandra Allison, Northern Health’s chief medical health officer. “That is why we encourage people to test their homes and talk to their employers about testing their buildings.  Knowing is the first step to being able to protect you and your family.”



This is a step in the right direction but I think the kits should be free, particularly to those in the postal code area “V2M”.

I agree fully. If the radon levels are that bad in the V2M area, the local and provincial governments should be stepping up.

Do they have any stats at all the would indicate the number of people who actually had problems with radon in the V2M area or any other area of Prince George. ???

They have sampling stats on radon the radon levels detected in PG, and the V2M was the highest postal code.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no epidemiological studies on radon associated cancers in PG, especially not the V2M specific postal code.

Based on US EPA characteristics of radon, it penetrates vapour barriers, concrete, gypsum board and is found in concrete and gypsum board because they are made of the material in which radon may be found.

I would like to see some actual studies of mock ups which show that the active venting systems proposed as post construction mitigation efforts reduce the transfer of radon and, if so, by how much. Am still looking.

$16.00 is pretty darn cheap, I know I’ll be getting one. When one looks at all the rentals in V2M, hope landlords will deal with it. Any landlord that doesn’t, well, I just wonder if they can be held liable.

So as a renter should i move out of the area with a v2m postal code??

I started to look to rent in v2n area am very concerned

Has anyone seen anything about testing for schools in PG, especially the Heritage (v2m) area? They are slab on grade construction, have concrete blocks and bricks, as well as drywall and are considered a major concern by the US EPA since children are effected more than adults and are in those environments for prolonged periods of time.

Smokers, whether tobacco or weed, are more affected by radon in their environment because radon particles plate out on surfaces and particulates, including dust, smoke, bad air quality days, etc.

The effects are negative synergistic effects.

If you are renting in a basement suite/room … yes …. if it is in an above grade apartment building or upper level of the house … no.

In fact, the typical slab-on-grade Richmond style house with the living area a floor up from grade should be no problem if you rent on that upper level.


My home in the V2M tested at 980Bq/m3 pre Active Sub-slab Depressurization System. The recommended limit is 200Bq/m3. Post system installation my home tested at 50Bq/m3.

Both the pre and post test were conducted over 10+ months.

Just one example…

Lots of variables here.

1. Postal Codes V2N and V2K also tested high in the report.

2. The test is done in an area where people live at least 4 hours per day, Ie; Basement, Living Room, Rec Room etc;

3. The radon level can be totally different from one house to another.

4. The effects of radon take place over a long period of time, and are exacerbated if you are a smoker, or past smoker.

5. No. Landlords cannot be held responsible,. There is no mandatory testing in Canada at this time.

6. Should anyone be concerned enough to move?? Personal decision, however you would want to ensure that the house your moving into does not have a higher level than the one you leave.

7. Releasing areas of high levels by using the Postal Codes was probably not a smart idea when you consider that levels vary from house to house and area to area.

8.Remember that the safe level a number of years ago was 600Bq/m3 and this has now been revised to 200.

9. Being subjected to a high level or radon doesn’t necessarily equate to getting lung cancer. There are approx. 3000 deaths from lung cancer that are attributable to Radon.

10. 96.1% of houses in BC are deemed to be below 200Bq/m3.

11. Seems the best thing to do, is to have your house tested and get the results, and then make a decision.

12. Apparently apartments above the second floor are not considered a risk.

This would be a good time for the City to ask residents who are getting their houses tested to give the City the results. This information would be good in determining if this is a city wide problem. If so then action can be take to fix it.

We need more information before we get into a situation where all houses have to be tested prior to a sale, as this will just make the sale of a house that much more difficult.

Seems like a fix for this problem runs around $2000.00 I would have to believe that if the fix was mandatory, then the price would increase substantially.

Giving the City the results would give us a sense of just how serious this problem is, and whether or not we need mandatory testing. With 96.1% of houses deemed ok I suggest that we don’t.

why no talk about how much radon gas in our water system

Your all paranoid. I’d be more worried about carbon monoxide being stuck in traffic and whatever the pulp mills dump into the air… i’m sure its more at night when you cant see it.

Just my opinion. Can you share on the cost of installing the

Active Sub-Slab System.??

Are heard v2n landlords are goin to charge premium rents cheez

What are the costs to correct this, if your home tests above acceptable levels?

strictly speaking – go to radonaware.ca for information on how to mitigate and work from there. There was one certified radon mitigator in PG when the BC Lung association was doing the initial testing in 2014, and another was training for certification – there may be more now.

Before a local fellow got certified people needing to install mitigation had to pay to bring someone up from down south. So now it is less expensive that it was about 5 years ago.

I am aware of a system installed along North Nechako Rd that was less than $2000 all in, with an initial test of about 1300 Bq/m3 – now below 100 Bq/m3 from what I heard.

Grizzly2. Your right, $16 is cheap for a test kit. I too will be buying one. I do firmly believe that test kits should be supplied free by both City and Regional district. They could charge the $16, then refund it when the results are given back to them for stats. If everyone tested their homes, (and the problem houses were identified) maybe the region could get subsidized for mitigation work/equipment. Also, by identifying the problem areas we could get local building codes modified for new construction. PG residents are already at a higher health risk due to the numerous pollutants within our airshed, compounded also by the topography. Our town and district should attempt to be proactive on this and curb the issue. We are pushing to become a more attractive/welcoming place to live and work, ridding the population of this issue would go a long way to further that cause…IMO

@ Palopu
@ strictlyspeaking

I hired a profession mitigator. Project completed start to finish for approx. $1500 within a week of first phone call.

Given skill, time and equiptment a home owner could likely perform the job themselves for half the price.

The cost to potentially protect my families health was minimal in the bigger picture… however in hindsight, I would have considered doing it on my own.

Living in the north, you should be more worried about road dust, Lyme disease and the Flu… than Radon….but that’s just common sense.

is the company doing this job not a city building inspector

We tested my parents home in the Foothills subdivision way back 30 years ago for radon. It took a year and came back safe. The fear way back then was the high levels coming in from the 1st avenue to the Nechako river area where the levels were really high.

I think a huge factor in the level of radon is if the basement has cracks in the slab, or drains that go into the ground rather than sewer… as well as location. From what I’ve read anything above ground level is usually safe as just the air circulation from an open door is enough to drop the radon levels significantly. An above ground slab is best, but even a basement entry door works as well to help mitigate the threat.

Having basement bedrooms below grade without adequate ventilation is the highest risk factor.

Thanks for the info.

Its funny all this talk about radon in the basement. Where do you think all the basement air goes when the furnace kicks in?

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