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SD 20 tests for radon; employs remediation measures

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
June 23rd, 2016

Interior Health and the SD 20 school district have issued a release regarding completed tests for radon levels in district facilities. Schools with levels high enough to indicate a need for remediation include Stanley Humphreys and Kinnaird Elementary in Castlegar, as well as J. Lloyd Crowe in Trail. The mass email, sent to parents and guardians on June 23, reads as follows:

Dear parents and guardians:

As part of School District No. 20’s (SD20’s) ongoing commitment to the health and safety of our students and staff, radon gas screening has been completed throughout the district, with the assistance of Interior Health.

The Canadian guideline is 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m³), and fortunately most test results are below this level. For areas above the guideline, SD20 is implementing temporary measures such as opening windows and increasing ventilation to lower the radon levels. SD20 is also engaging a certified expert to evaluate the buildings for longer term mitigation. Once the action plan is in place, it will be shared on the SD20 website.

The results are posted on the SD20 website along with information about how to interpret the results; go to http://www.sd20.bc.ca/reports-publications/articles/radon.html.

Health effects associated with radon are long-term, and a child’s exposure in school represents only a portion of their exposure over the whole year. For this reason, Health Canada and Interior Health recommends testing both schools and households for radon. SD20 is taking action for the school environment, and we encourage parents and guardians to test their child’s home where more indoor time is likely spent.

The West Kootenay region is known to have high radon levels which can vary widely, even in the same neighborhood. In general, radon concentrations tend to be highest in the lowest levels of a building, including basements during the cold months of the year, hence the posted October 27, 2015 recommendation to test.

Radon testing devices can be picked up via the Donna Schmidt Memorial Lung Cancer Prevention Society. Please call Dana Schmidt at (250) 365-0344 ext. 227 or email dschmidt@golder.com to inquire about getting a testing device. Note: Kits are limited to locations in the Kootenays only.

For more information about Radon please check out the following links:
    Health Canada – http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/radiation/radon/index-eng.php
    BC Lung Association – http://www.radonaware.ca/
    Interior Health Authority – https://www.interiorhealth.ca/YourEnvironment/AirQuality/Pages/RadonGas.aspx

If you have general questions about radon or the test results shared, please contact the Interior Health, Healthy Built Environment Team at hbe@interiorhealth.ca or call toll free at 1-855-744-6328 ext 4.

Dr. Sue Pollock
Medical Health Officer
Interior Health Authority
and
Greg Luterbach
Superintendent of Schools
School District No. 20 (Kootenay-Columbia)

Categories: EducationGeneral

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