Michael Jessen

Michael Jessen

Radon worth testing for in some Nelson homes

The West Kootenay is a known hot spot for the colourless, odourless gas that can cause cancer — radon.

The West Kootenay is a known hot spot for the colourless, odourless gas that can cause cancer — radon.

And while Nelson doesn’t seem to have as much of the radioactive gas that naturally occurs when uranium in the soil and rocks break down, it is worth paying attention to.

“There are pockets,” said Michael Jessen, the Nelson director with the BC Lung Association.

He suggests people who live in areas where soil and gravel have been disturbed test the air quality in their homes just to be sure.

“We go about our daily lives without knowing it’s there,” said Jessen. “There’s no panic about it but as with many things, we should err on the side of caution.”

Radon detectors are available from the Regional District of Central Kootenay offices for a small donation. Jessen explained testing should occur in the area of the house where owners spend eight hours or more per day. If this is on the home’s lower level, the detector should be placed at ground level. Testing should be done for three months.

“It’s best to do it in winter months when doors and windows are most likely to be closed,” he said.

Radon is the second highest source of cancer to cigarettes smoking. It has significant effects on health damaging lung cells that could then turn cancerous when they reproduce. The risk depends on both the level of radon and the length of exposure. In combination, radon and cigarette smoke have an alarming impact.

“A person who is a heavy smoker and has exposure to radon, above allowable limits, they have a one in three chance of getting lung cancer,” said Jessen.

New guidelines for acceptable levels of radon in a home are 200 Becquerels per cubic metre. This is down from the former 800 Bq per cubic metre. The BC Lung Association said at that level “the risk for a non-smoker is higher than for all common accidental deaths combined.”

“If we take precautions against accidental deaths by wearing seatbelts and lifejackets and by ensuring that our smoke detectors are working, we should also be testing our homes for radon.”

If radon is found at unacceptable levels in one’s home, remediation can help. From allowing for air exchange, to sealing cracks in the foundation and floors, work can cost anywhere from $50 to $3,000. Fixing the problem protects the value of the home.

Jessen volunteers with the BC Lung Association because of concerns about poor air quality its impact on health.

“If you can’t breath, nothing else matters,” he said. “Clean air is so vital to our health.”

In addition to cigarette smoke and radon, other causes of bad air include pollution from automobiles, backyard burning and wood stoves, explained Jessen.

“Just because we’re not in the Lower Mainland doesn’t mean cars aren’t causing bad air,” he said. “If 10,000 cars pass through, that’s all that’s needed for lung problems. There are 18,000 vehicles passing through Nelson at the peak on a summer’s day.”

Jessen said ICBC has 10,000 registered vehicles in a six mile radius around Nelson.

For more information on radon and testing ones home, check out www.bc.lung.ca or www.healthcanada.gc.ca/radon

For more preventative information on various health issues, there are ongoing lunch meetings at the Community First Health Co-op on Wednesdays.

 

Just Posted

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read