Jan King of Salmon Arm is concerned with the radon levels a detector he purchased is displaying in his Hillcrest home. (CKristiansen - Wikimedia Commons)

Radon levels in new Salmon Arm home a concern

Real-time monitoring shows radon concentration just within federally accepted guideline

Radon levels in a newly constructed Salmon Arm home have its owners concerned for their health and the health of their neighbours.

Jan King, who moved into the Hillcrest neighbourhood earlier this year, said he purchased an electronic detector which displays radon concentration in real-time.

What he has seen has worried him.

The federal standard set for safe radon levels is 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/M3) – a measure of radioactivity. King said the levels his device has shown were of concern according to its manufacturer, peaking at just shy of 200 Bq/M3. The detector states that levels of 150 Bq/M3 can be cause for concern if observed over a month or more. That is also the national standard for concerning radon levels in the U.S.

Read More: Salmon Arm family doctor shortage putting health-care needs at risk

Read More: Local pilot takes part in Salmon Arm’s first Remembrance Day flyover

Radon gas is produced by the decay of naturally occurring radioactive elements, such as radium and uranium which are present in varying concentrations in the ground across the province. Health Canada estimates that 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths, totalling more than 3,300 each year, are related to exposure to radon. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Although he purchased the monitoring device recently, King said the levels he has observed have already concerned him enough that he plans to contact a company offering radon mitigation services.

King’s house is fitted with a vent that runs down below the house’s foundation and out through the roof, designed to passively vent radon and other gasses from out below the foundation. The vent is not fitted with a fan.

The BC Building Code has required builders to include a venting pipe in buildings since 2006. Fans for the venting pipe are not required in the code, leaving the homeowner to install them if they are concerned with radon levels.

Read More: Students, staff glad to be back at Sicamous elementary school

Read More: Concert hall and event centre proposed for Salmon Arm’s downtown

According to a document circulated through the B.C. Lung Association’s Radon Aware program, the venting system is much more effective at reducing radon levels in the house when the fan is equipped.

King said he and his mother are hoping to make the house feel like home as soon as possible, noting radon levels picked up by the air-quality monitor rise when the furnace fan is circulating air.

“I look around there are tons of families here. There are little kids and elderly people, I just think you don’t want to take chances with your kids growing up with that sort of thing. They need good air to breathe.”

After sharing his concerns with the Observer and on social media, King says his home’s builder has agreed to install a radon ventilation fan.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

Yesterday a fatal collision on Hwy 97 claimed the life of one individual

Oliver Health Centre celebrates expansion of ER

Minister of Health was in Oliver for the official opening of the improved emergency department

ALERT and Penticton pilot team up to talk about Australian wildfires

Mike Bridson has been fighting the fires in Australia, and returns to help more later this month

Harlem Globetrotters’ Hops Pearce is pumped to bring show to Penticton

Less than two weeks to get your tickets to see Globetrotters’ high-flying stunts

Okanagan health care community mourns loss of long-time hospital director

Ken Jarrard dedicated his life in Penticton to health care; he passed away today at age 92.

Older Canadians highlighted in Kelowna film project to fight ageism

The project is part of a campaign to combat ageism

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Princeton – a Prince Town in waiting?

The Town of Princeton has been waiting 160 years for a Royal… Continue reading

Group builds shelters for Vernon’s stray cats

Twenty insulated cat shelters were constructed by volunteers and delivered around town

UBCO partners with Boeing to test new anti-ice coating technology

The coating could one day be applied to all airplanes to prevent ice buildup

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

True Stories: Okanagan memoir-writers, reading

Reading with local North Okanagan writers Art Dalton, Patti Shales Lefkos, Raven Dahl, Janelle Hardy

Kelowna’s last video store, Leo’s Videos, to remain open despite failed sale

Kelowna’s last video rental store will remain open and under its namesake’s ownership

Most Read