Fall 2023 - Free Radon Test Kit Program
The City of Chilliwack has partnered with the Fraser Valley Regional District to supply 200 radon test kits for Chilliwack residents, for more information on the program click here. The 200 radon test kits have now been claimed and are available for pickup from November 28, 2023 to December 8, 2023 at City Hall. If you were unable to claim a free test kit you can purchase one from home improvement stores, the Take Action on Radon Website, or another provider listed here CARST Radon Suppliers.
Fall 2022 - Free Radon Test Kit Program
In November 2022, the City of Chilliwack partnered with Take Action on Radon, which is funded by Health Canada, and participated in the Radon Test Kit Challenge ! The City of Chilliwack ended up supplying residents with 400 test kits, with Take Action on Radon providing 100, BC Lung Foundation supplied 100, and 200 were supplied by the City of Chilliwack. The Fraser Valley Regional District also participated in the challenge supplying kits to their areas.
Test kits have been returned and sent to the lab for testing. Results are summarized in the Community Report below.
If you took part in the Free Radon Test Kit Program and have not recieved your results please email [email protected].
Chilliwack Community Report
Take Action on Radon presented to City Council on June 6th, 2023. The slideshow can be seen here.
See image below for the Chilliwack Community Report on Radon. For the full report visit Take Action on Radon.
Didn't get to register? For residents that are were unable to get a kit through the challenge, you can purchase them from the Take Action on Radon Website or another provider listed here CARST Radon Suppliers.
Recording of Radon Information: 100 Radon Test Kit Information Session
Detect Radon With The Library: Fraser Valley Regional Library expands its Playground lending collection with home testing kits. Radon kits are the newest tool in the Fraser Valley Regional Library’s (FVRL) Playground lending collection. The kit enables the user to easily and quickly test for radon exposure levels throughout their home.
The kits, partially funded with the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, are free to borrow with an FVRL card. With a radon detector, customers can make informed health choices by testing the radon levels in their homes.
Be aware that the test kits provided by the library are short term tests, Health Canada suggests purchasing a long term test kit for the most accurate results.
Learn more about radon detectors or place a hold to borrow a kit by visiting fvrl.ca/radondetectors
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in the ground throughout the world. You cannot see, taste or smell it. Most buildings will contain some amount of radon gas, but the only way to know if levels are high is to conduct a radon test.
Radon in British Columbia
Due to geological factors, some areas of British Columbia have naturally higher surface level radon than others. Indoor radon accumulation can vary widely from building to building, even in the same neighbourhood.
How Does Radon Get Indoors?
Radon takes the easiest path into buildings through rocks, soil, dirt and concrete floors and foundation seams. Heating and ventilation systems influence radon levels too. During the cooler months, windows and doors are often closed and rising warm air enables radon to escape from the ground indoors.
Source: Government of Canada - Take Action on Radon
Why Should You Care?
Radon Gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and is the number one environmental cancer-causing agent.
The British Columbia Lung Foundation states that Canadians spend 90% of their day indoors, with about 70% at home and 20% at work or school. The air we breathe indoors can contain particulates, gases, allergens and fumes that can significantly impact our health in both the short and long term. Knowing the main indoor air pollutants, their sources, and how to reduce them are key to reducing harm to our health.
Health Canada recommends testing homes for radon and taking steps to reduce radon if the level is above the Canadian Guideline of 200 Bq/m3.
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control radon potential map for British Columbia, the percentage of homes in Chilliwack that have radon levels above the Canadian Guideline of 200 Bq/m3 is 4%, but testing in Chilliwack has been very limited.
Additional Testing Information
Radon testing is ideally done during the fall / winter as that is when the house is most likely to be sealed up, but testing can be done whenever.
Long-Term radon Testing
- Radon levels can vary greatly from season to season, and even day to day, so the most accurate way to find out if your home has a problem is to do a long-term test over a period of at least 90 days.
- This test uses a small device that measures the radioactive particles emitted by radon. After the testing period, the device is then sent to a lab for analysis.
- It is recommended that you place the device in the lowest level of your home where you spend at least 4 hours a day, for at least 90 days over winter, when the house is likely to be more sealed.
Short-Term Radon Testing
- Short-term testing can be done using a device over a period of days to weeks. Since radon levels can vary day to day, short-term testing should not be used alone to determine if your home has a problem.
- It can be useful in instances where a home has had a known high level of radon in the past and you want to confirm that the level of radon has dropped after being fixed.
- Any initial short-term test should always be followed up with a long-term test.
Where can I get a radon testing kit?
- Both short and long-term test kits can be purchased online or from home improvement stores, they range from $30 - $60. For a list of vendors, click here.
What should I do if my home has radon levels higher than the Health Canada Guideline?
If you test your home and the levels are higher than Health Canada’s guideline of 200 Bq/m3, Health Canada recommends taking action to reduce radon levels. Steps can be taken to reduce the radon levels in most homes to well below the guideline at costs similar to replacing a furnace or air conditioner.
Some residents may choose to reduce radon levels even if they are below the Health Canada guideline. For more guidance on how to reduce radon exposure, please refer to Health Canada’s Radon Reduction Guide for Canadians.
Additional information on how to mitigate radon levels can be found here:
Take Action on Radon FAQs. Information on how to test, reducing radon, and health effects - Take Action on Radon FAQs
Take Action on Radon Reducing Radon. Resources and how to find a Mitigation Professional - Reducing Radon in Your Home
Breathe The Lung Association (Lungs Matter: Financial Support for home radon mitigation). Information and support for families that are unable to afford the cost of mitigation - Lungs Matter Radon Mitigation Support
Upcoming Building Code Change:
The details for the proposed changes to the BC Building Code radon provisions can be found here.
Where can I get more information?
Health Canada - Radon