Radon Inspections

Purchasing A Home

When you are purchasing a home, this usually the single most expensive and important decision you will face. So you should of course protect yourself as best you can and ask lots of questions during the transaction. Your realtor can help advise and guide you through the entire process. Although one of the commonly missed things is Radon. This is missed due to the inadequate awareness of Radon in general, but the fact is that there is Radon in any structure that is in contact with the ground. Building type does not matter, it is just a matter of how much Radon is present. Awareness in Canada is gradually getting better and more people are finding out about Radon and the associated risks every day.

So what do you know about Radon in the building you are going to purchase? Has it been measured before? Is there a mitigation system? Was it tested again after mitigation with a certified test device? Unfortunately there is no mandatory requirement for Radon testing at the time of purchase, however until recently no testing guidelines existed either. The best testing is conducted for a period of 91 days through October to April. This does not necessarily fit the timelines involved in a Real Estate transaction. CARST has set out new Radon testing guidelines for Real Estate transactions that employ different options to Radon testing from pre listing to post purchase testing. 

 

Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists
Helping Canadians Reduce Radon Risk

Things to Consider When Buying a Home

A recent Health Canada survey revealed that 7% of Canadians are living in homes with high radon levels. While all homes have some level of radon,  the consideration that needs to be made when considering a purchase is how likely it is that the radon level is high, and how much it will cost to fix.

Radon enters a building through contact with the ground. 

Here are a few examples:

                • unfinished dirt or gravel floors 
                • construction joints (joints in the concrete)
                • gaps around service pipes
                • open sump pits
                • openings in the foundation

If you’ve fallen in love with your dream home; it’s important to know that all homes can be fixed and have their radon levels reduced.  You can move into your home and test for radon during the first heating season that you occupy the house.  After a long-term radon test is completed, you will know what the radon level is and whether or not it needs to be reduced.

If you aren’t sure you want to purchase a test without some indication of the radon level, CARST has developed a guideline for conducting a Radon Screening Assessment to give you an indication of how likely it is that a home has elevated radon levels.

 

Understanding a Radon Assessment During a Real Estate Transaction

Here’s how an assessment during a real-estate transaction works:
First, contact a C-NRPP Measurement Professional to conduct a Radon Screening Assessment for you.
The occupant of the home must agree to the test, and also to keeping the home under ‘closed house’ conditions for as long as required.

Closed-house conditions include: 

  • Windows should stay closed at all times, 
  • External doors opened only for entry and exit,
  • Attached garage doors should be opened only for entry and exit,
  • Fireplaces should not be operated during the radon test, unless they are the primary heat source.
  • Clothes dryer, range hood, and bathroom fan operation should be limited to the minimum necessary,
  • Radon mitigation systems shall be operated as normal.
  • Heat-Recovery Ventilator (HRV) and Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) shall be left to operate (or not operate) as found.  For example, if an HRV is plugged in and working it should be left working, if unplugged, should be left unplugged.
 

The Radon Screening Assessment will be set up by the C-NRPP Measurement Professional.  The detector must be in place for a minimum of 4 days.  A longer duration is preferred, but not always practical in a real estate situation.The C-NRPP Measurement Professional has specific guidelines about where and how to place the test, as well as how to report on the results.  This may include using 2 detectors, depending on the type of devices used.
Understanding my Radon Assessment Report
The Radon Assessment Report will provide a result of Green, Yellow or Red to help you understand the likelihood that the annual average radon concentration could be above 200 Bq/m3.  

Green Test Result

A Green Test Result indicates a radon screening assessment of 75 Bq/m3 or less during the heating season and 50 Bq/m3 or less outside the heating season.   It is important to note that a “Green” test does not guarantee that the annual average radon concentration in the dwelling is below 200 Bq/m3. A long-term follow-up radon measurement conducted during the next heating season must still be carried out.

Yellow Test Result

A Yellow Test Result indicates a radon screening assessment of greater than 75 Bq/mduring the heating season or 50 Bq/m3outside the heating season, up to and including 400 Bq/m3.  This result indicates that there is a higher likelihood that the annual average radon concentration is above 200 Bq/m3

Red Test Result

A Red Test Result indicates a radon screening assessment of greater than 400 Bq/m3. This result indicates a strong likelihood that the annual average radon concentration is above 200 Bq/m3

Do I Need to Worry About Newly Built Homes?
New homes are not radon free. Some new homes feature radon resistant features, but these does not guarantee low levels. Testing is ALWAYS recommended when occupying a new space. Ontario Homes are covered under the Tarion warranty which provides free mitigation when radon levels are above Canada’s guideline within the first 7 years of the home being constructed.  Find more information here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.irps.info/purchasing-a-home/

The Lung Cancer Stigma

The vast majority, about 80%, of lung cancer patients today are already never or non-smokers. Telling them they need to quit is offensive and mostly pointless.
http://www.lungcanceralliance.org/images/Facts/Smoker-Percentage.jpg
For years, anti-smoking ads effectively reduced smoking by emphasizing negative images of smokers afflicted with lung cancer. Unfortunately, these ads caused the public to equate smoking and lung cancer, and villianized smokers and lung cancer patients instead of tobacco and tobacco companies.  This “smoking equals lung cancer” meme is persistent, pervasive, and generates lung cancer stigma.  
 

Lung cancer stigma increases depression and blame among patients and their family members, reduces compassion and funding for lung cancer, hinders awareness of other lung cancer risk factors, and discourages those at high risk from seeking lung cancer screening that could save their lives.

The “smoking equals lung cancer” meme is unfair and inaccurate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) state smoking affects every organ in the body and is a risk factor for twelve cancers as well as sixteen other diseases, including heart disease, the biggest killer of all.  In fact, more people die of smoking-related cardiovascular disease than die of lung cancer.  But publications and media usually mention smoking and smoking cessation only in association with lung cancer. This reinforces the stigma.  

What do we want?
We’re asking US and global cancer organizations, media companies, researchers, and professional organizations to help reduce lung cancer stigma by reducing the “smoking equals lung cancer” mindset.  We’re asking they do this by using the following tactics in their communications: 

  • avoid using any images of tobacco products in communications about lung cancer
  • refer to smoking as a RISK FACTOR for cancer (instead of a cause)
  • when discussing smoking in association with lung cancer, include references to other known risk factors for lung cancer
  • avoid featuring communications about smoking and smoking cessation in proximity to lung cancer communications whenever possible
  • discuss smoking and smoking cessation in association with EVERY cancer (not just lung cancer) and every disease linked to smoking

Why do we care?

Lung cancer is the most deadly cancer. In the US alone, a jumbo jet’s worth of lung cancer patients die every day.  One in sixteen people in the US will get it in their lifetime, and about 80% of them will be nonsmokers.  Organizations that promote smoking cessation focus on lung cancer patients (most of whom do not smoke) rather than ALL patients whose diseases are linked to smoking. The fact is, smoking cessation cannot cure ANY cancer, nor guarantee a person will not get lung cancer. Because of stigma, many people don’t know that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer, and that lung cancer research is funded at a level far less per death that other major cancers. Members of the Lung Cancer Social Media (#LCSM) community want to change these facts in our lifetimes. 

You can learn more about lung cancer stigma here 
https://lcsmchat.com/lung-cancer-stigma-references/

Supporters of this petition include [names of lung cancer organizations]

This petition will be delivered to:

  • Centers For Disease Control
  • American Cancer Society
  • Cure Magazine

Permanent link to this article: http://www.irps.info/the-lung-cancer-stigma/

Challenge Your MP To Support a Radon Tax Credit

There are a multitude of tax credits for various things, but none for Radon Mitigation. The Canadian Environmental Law Association is trying to change this. Go to this link  http://www.cela.ca/blog/2016-10-25/challenging-all-mps-whose-ridings-have-high-radon-levels-support-radon-tax-credit to see how you can help.

 

Over 600,000 homes across Canada are estimated to have above-guideline radon levels. That’s a lot of houses where lung cancer risk is elevated. It turns out many of those homes are in the ridings of 93 Members of Parliament with sixteen of those ridings of particular concern. But the elevated risk is nation-wide.

CELA has written to all federal MPs seeking support for a radon mitigation tax credit. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It can be easily corrected via federally-approved mitigation techniques. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium in soil and rock. It is odourless, colourless and tasteless. It can only be detected via testing. When left undetected and enclosed in homes or buildings, radon is a proven cause of lung cancer. The science is very clear.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada, annually responsible for 16% of lung cancer deaths or about 3300 people every year. Health Canada’s cross-Canada survey of radon levels is an authoritative source for the figure of over 600,000 homes estimated to have radon levels above the Canadian radon guideline of 200 Bequerels per cubic metre (Bq/m³).

Health Canada’s results are reported by provincially-defined district health regions. We compared those health regions with federal riding boundaries and found:

  • Half of all federal ridings with above-guideline radon levels
  • 93 federal ridings where more than 10% of homes have above-guideline radon levels
  • 16 federal ridings where more than 20% of homes have above-guideline radon levels

We have created a list of the ridings with more than 10% and 20% above-guideline radon levels, respectively. We asked all MPs to check if they are on this list. While we want every MP to support a tax credit, we think these 93 should be especially concerned and want to help make radon mitigation affordable for all Canadians.

Despite a lot of excellent public outreach work by Health Canada and others, most people are unaware of either the cancer risk from radon or what needs to be done about it. And mitigation can be expensive. That’s why we believe a federal tax credit is:

  • The logical next step in Canada’s impressive National Radon Program
  • A strong signal that Canadians need to take this important issue more seriously
  • A measure that will help make radon mitigation more affordable

We also calculated the financial implications. At a minimum, a tax credit will be revenue-neutral. More likely, it will result in net tax revenues to both the federal government and the provinces.

We estimate that an aggressive program to mitigate 80% of above-guideline homes within five years would result in a net annual benefit in the order of $1.6M to $9.8M in federal tax revenues and $8.2M to $49.7M to the provinces.

We also calculated the more modest revenues arising if 20% of above-guideline homes are mitigated over five years.

Additional benefits will arise with job creation for mitigation firms as well as long-term savings by avoiding the direct and indirect health care costs of lung cancer. Our detailed calculations are on-line here: http://www.cela.ca/publications/radon-tax-credit

At CELA we continue to give high priority to this issue for three key reasons:

  • Radon is a proven cancer risk
  • Large numbers of people are directly affected and at risk
  • The health outcome – death from cancer – is very serious

Again this year, a recommendation for a radon tax credit is included in the annual set of recommendations from the Green Budget Coalition, both for homeowners as well as small landlords who are an important part of the rental housing market and often provide units in basements where radon levels can be higher.

We urge all Canadians to write to Finance Minister Bill Morneau to ask for this tax credit in the upcoming federal budget. Consult our list of MPs who represent ridings with either 10% or 20% of homes at above-guideline radon levels. Does your MP represent one of these ridings? Send them an email.

We’ll also be asking Provincial Premiers and Finance Ministers to support a radon mitigation tax credit since this measure will be an even larger tax revenue stream for the Provinces and Territories than the federal government.

In sum, a tax credit for radon mitigation will help Canadians take this issue more seriously and get their homes tested. It will create jobs, provide federal and provincial tax revenues, and offset health care costs. Most important, it will help Canadians offset the cost of radon mitigation should they need to do so.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.irps.info/challenge-your-mp-to-support-a-radon-tax-credit/

Radon Facts At A Glance

Enhance your knowledge about radon.

 

RadonInfographic-1000

Permanent link to this article: http://www.irps.info/radon-facts-at-a-glance/

BC Building Code Changes for Section 9.13

On December 19, 2014 changes to the 2012 BC Building Code were made to section 9.13. This is the section of the building code that deals with control of soil gas and we now have new mandatory “Radon rough-in requirements” implemented as per Table C-3. This section now provides a more descriptive method of radon rough-in requirements. It is a victory in helping to limit radon induced lung cancer from new buildings within BC, and IRPS was a large participant in recommending the appropriate changes to the Building and Safety Standards Branch.

The new Radon Rough-in Requirements: B14-07 New_Radon_Rough-in_Requirements

Permanent link to this article: http://www.irps.info/bc-building-code-changes-for-section-9-13/

BC Lung Association Radon Study

 

Radon Aware
British Columbia Lung Association

In January of 2014 IRPS was the lead contractor enlisted to provide field services and research for the BC Lung Association’s, Radon Aware Study in partnership with the Building and Safety Standards Branch. The study ran from January to May of 2014. The goal was to provide information on the effectiveness of new homes built with current radon resistant techniques, and to assess better understanding within the current BC Building Code or provide appropriate changes within the Building Code.

The findings from the study did provide the Building Standards Branch with suggestions to incorporate into the current BC Building Code edition. The amendment to the building code now provides more descriptive wording and details of a passive type radon reduction system. A table was also published to better identify which areas of the province were to have these measures installed in residential buildings.

The study findings can be read here: BCLung_Radon_Castlegar_reportG

Permanent link to this article: http://www.irps.info/bc-lung-association-radon-study/

Keeping Your Family Safe

Providing you with Superior service…..

Paul Muntak was the first certified Radon Mitigation Professional in British Columbia and provides mentoring / training  for upcoming Radon Mitigation Professionals.

Paul has worked in the construction industry and was previously a Registered Home Inspector with Lynch Building Inspections in Nelson BC. With hundreds of residential and commercial building inspections to his credit, Paul has a firm understanding of buildings and their systems. As many factors influence the indoor radon levels within a building, Paul’s previous history with buildings and their systems is beneficial to the success of effective radon mitigation.

Having recognized that Radon gas kills more British Columbians than drunk drivers, he has dedicated himself to being a radon mitigation specialist.

Paul is willing to travel anywhere in the Province to assist home and building owners, with their Radon issues.

Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST) website. Here you will find information about radon gas and CARST, a Canadian association dedicated to helping Canadians understand and reduce radon gas exposure in their homes and workplaces.

National Radon Proficiency Program is the leading certification program for radon professionals in North America.

 

 

Background on Radon

Visit the Earth Encyclopedia , for more detailed information on Radon and its effects. Expert-reviewed information.

 

Please see our research  links page for more information.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.irps.info/keeping-your-family-safe/