Why can’t I order an Evict Radon kit after February 1?
With research on our side, our mission is to evict radon from our homes and create safe, breathable air for everyone.
Extensive research indicates that long-term radon testing is most accurate during the winter months. Because of this, we only accept research participants and sell Evict Radon test kits from October 1 – January 31st. If you wish to join our 2019/2020 Evict Radon research study, please click the yellow “join the waitlist” button. We will contact you when kits become available in October 2019.
Simple! On our website you’ll see a yellow ‘Test My Home’ button (or if using a mobile device, the button is on the bottom banner of your phone or tablet), click that and you’ll be prompted to review our research terms and conditions. Read the Ts & Cs and enter your email address at the bottom. By doing this, you are letting us know that you consent to being a part of the research project. Your information will be protected under the University of Calgary ethics board. After you click the ‘I accept’ button, you will be directed to our C-NRPP certified test provider RadonWest. There you will be able to order your $60.00 radon test. If you have any problems ordering your test, please contact us.
The cost of the kit is $60 and everything you need to test your home is included, there are no hidden costs. The kit will be mailed to your home. In it, you will receive the alpha track test device, an instruction pamphlet telling you how to place, register and return your test device, and a pre-paid return shipping label. The radon test laboratory fee for reading your test device is included in this cost. Shipping is via Canada Post and includes tracking information.
An advantage to testing with a research project like Evict Radon is that the scientists perform hundreds of controls to ensure your radon reading is “gold standard”. These include:
In addition to ensuring your radon test result is as accurate as possible, your data will be used for the betterment of Canadian Health and society to further research into cancer prevention research.
Everything we do and say, has been approved by the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board, which ensures that there are no conflicts of interest, that your data is held securely and safely, and that the risks of participation are both minimized and fully disclosed.
Our scientists perform hundreds of control tests to ensure quality and accuracy. These tests include blanks (un-exposed tests put through the whole process to ensure quality), duplicates (you may receive a second test device at no cost, which must be placed side-by-side with the first test so we can ensure reproducibility of readings) and spiked positives (tests we send to labs to be exposed to known amounts of radon, to ensure that devices are accurate).
For the most accurate test results, the radon test device must be placed inside a home for 90+ days.
For the most accurate test results, you must start your test between the months of October and end of January for a 90+ day period, as recommended by Health Canada.
As long as your test device remains sealed in the industrial grade plastic bag it arrives in (no punctures), then you can deploy it in the next available testing season (next available October). A test can be initiated any time from early October to late January to obtain a suitable 90+ day test within period recommended by Health Canada.
Most frequently, this is because something went wrong when you registered your device. When deploying your device, you need to log into to www.radonova.com/evictradon/ and use your specific commission number and password to provide the start time of the test and the vital home metric information required by researchers. You also need to provide the email address (or other mode of communication) you wish to receive your results at. It is also essential to log back in at the conclusion of the test and enter the end date. If you have not done this, but have sent your kit back to the lab, usually all that is needed is for you to provide the information just described (as instructed) to get your result. More rarely, kits are lost or damaged during shipping. We can usually track this, and if found to be the case, we will issue another test for the next available season.
Place your test device on the lowest level of your home. There is a loop for hanging the device from the ceiling or a light fixture. Suspending the test device from your ceiling will help to keep the it safe and unharmed during the testing period.
Although radon levels are typically highest in the basement, you want to test the air that you are most often breathing. In some cases, you might only go down to the basement a few minutes a week (to do laundry or check the furnace, for example). In that case, place the test on the next floor up. In other cases, you might not spend 4+ hours per day in the basement, but may go down for 0.5-4 hours some days and 4+ hours others. In those cases, it makes sense still to test the basement, as you are breathing that air for prolonged periods. This is especially true if you have any exercise equipment in the basement, as while using that you will be breathing more heavily and so be exposed to more of the radon in that air.
We find that there is only a 10-20% difference in radon between floors, due to how well most of our homes air mixes. So, if the main floor reads 200 Bq/m3, then most likely the basement will be 10-20% higher (so 220-240 Bq/m3) and the upper floor will likely be 160-180 Bq/m3).
Generally speaking, if you are carrying out major renovations to the property, you should wait until they are completed before testing for radon. These include things such as: developing a basement, replacing the roof or windows, installing new furnaces or air conditioning units, installing or removing fireplaces, installing or removing fans, installing or exchanging building insulation and other major changes that may impact how air is leaving, entering or being retained in the property. Minor renovations, such as painting walls, changing carpets, or replacing appliances will not impact a radon reading and so are not a reason to delay testing.
New homes should only be tested in the second winter from the time the foundation was built. That is because the foundation will continue to “cure” (shrink) for 18 months from the time it was poured. As it cures, the gaps between the foundation and the walls of the basement will change, impacting how radon enters the home.
No, radon is only understood to trigger cancer following chronic exposure over a long period of time. If you are experiencing immediate breathing difficulties or allergy-like symptoms after moving into a new environment, it is very unlikely to be due to radon. We suggest you consult your family doctor. This does not mean, however, you should not be testing for radon to protect against long term cancer risk.
The 2010 National Building Code for Canada mandated that homes should be built with both a vapour barrier between the foundation and washed gravel underneath, and a portal for a future radon mitigation device. Different provinces adopted this code at different times. In Alberta, only homes built from early 2016 onwards are likely to have this rough in. In Saskatchewan, homes built mid 2013 onwards are likely to have this. In BC, only homes built early 2013 onwards and in the interior are likely to have this. Homes on the BC coast are still not required to have this. A radon mitigation rough-in is not an active mitigation device. It is there to make it easier and most cost-effective to install a future device.
No, we do not and will not publish radon levels by small regions such as neighbourhoods. Typically, the smallest geographic region we use to describe radon is a city quadrant (for major cities), an entire town or a federal electoral district.
It is important to remember that the 200 Bq/m3 level is set by Health Canada as a maximum acceptable reference level. Health Canada’s advice is to aim for as low as reasonably achievable. Your body cannot distinguish between 199, 200 and 201 Bq/m3 of radon, and being slightly under or over that number is meaningless to your long term health. Our advice if your home is at or near 200 Bq/m3 is to evaluate your relative risk and exposure by asking yourself the following questions:
The Americans actually use a different (older) unit to measure radon – the picocurie (pCi) instead of the Bq that is used in Canada (and the rest of the world). The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the USA action level at 4 pCi/L back in the late 20th century, and this equates to 148 Bq/m3. Their advice, just like Health Canada, is still to aim for as low as reasonably achievable. The WHO deferred to the amount of radon where a statistically observable increasing in lifetime risk of lung cancer is clear and significant – this is 100 Bq/m3. Health Canada set our maximum acceptable reference level at twice this value, with the view that double where we start to see an increase in risk is truly unacceptable. To ensure that you are protected to where there is no significant increase in risk (as science and medicine understands radon), aim to get your home, school and work environment below 100 Bq/m3.
There are a handful of decommissioned uranium mines on Earth that have been converted into spas by entrepreneurs. These businesses claim that inhaling the radon (which can be extremely high, in the range of 80,000 Bq/m3) has beneficial effects for some diseases such as chronic inflammation. Our take on this claim, whether it is true, purely anecdotal, or that it is false, is not really relevant in terms of domestic radon exposure over a lifetime. Radon is radioactive, and emits alpha radiation which is qualitatively much worse in terms of DNA damage and mutation than other types such as gamma or x-rays. We use radiation as a treatment (medicine) for a variety of diseases; including cancer and inflammatory disease, however, that is under highly controlled circumstances. For therapy, radiation is typically delivered in fast, high doses and most often to elderly patients, or those where the long term risks of radiation are outweighed by the potential benefit. Radiation exposure under those therapeutic circumstances can be viewed as positive – “good for you”, but that does NOT mean we should all expose ourselves to that radiation for every hour of the day for our entire lives, it absolutely does NOT mean we should expose those at the earliest and most sensitive ages (babies and kids) to radiation, and does NOT mean that radiation exposure under uncontrolled circumstances (and where there is no medical need) is at all advisable. So, whilst radiation can be “used for good” in controlled scenarios, that does not preclude the fact that it can and will also cause substantial harm with chronic exposure. The vast majority of the peer-reviewed scientific and medical literature indicates chronic exposure to radon throughout our lives is very dangerous to our health. When encountering information online, we strongly suggest checking the source of that information. Ask yourself – is this person a qualified radiation scientist or medical doctor?
Yes, don’t worry! The radon test device is essentially just plastic, with the outer shell (the hockey puck part) made of similar material to a pet or child’s toy, and the internal chip being made of CR-39 plastic, which is the same type of bullet-proof plastic used to make eye glass lenses. Neither are toxic, and your pet should not be harmed. The alpha track devices we use do not “absorb” radon, rather they register hits of alpha particles. Thus no radon is released if the test device is chewed. We advise keeping the test devices out of the way of pets or curious children (who love to play hockey with them!). Each device has a little loop on it, which can be used to suspend the device from a ceiling fixture (some folks use lights, chandeliers or basement ceiling rafters).
If the device is “eaten” or “beaten” such that the outer housing is perturbed, you will need to purchase a new test as it will be invalidated. If so, please contact us, and we will try to arrange for a new one to be provided at a lower cost, as you hopefully still have the original pre-paid return shipping label (and won’t need to pay for that twice).
Yes, when the test device goes to the lab, the plastic shell containing the CR-39 chip is recycled immediately into another radon test device, minimizing the environmental impact of this process. Cardboard boxes are also recycled.
Absolutely not. Blanks and controls are done entirely by the research team, and participants are not a part of that highly controlled process. Participants may receive (chosen at random) a duplicate test at no direct charge, however, and we ask them to be placed side-by-side with the other (identical) test device as this helps us ensure that readings between two devices match perfectly (as would be expected). Please be assured, participants ONLY ever get fully functional devices that will provide them with very accurate results. We know this because of our rigorous quality control process.
No problem, it happens.
Once you have completed the 90+ day test, first you will need to log back online to www.radonova.com/evictradon and enter the end date. Once you have done that, you are ready to send the device back to the lab. The device is durable and can be placed as is, into a shipping box or padded envelope. Ensure you tape the box or seal the envelope. Take the device to the nearest post office and ship it to:
900 Oakmont Lane, Suite 207
Westmont, IL, 60559 USA
Sending it as a “small packet” will cost about $10. The device is too large to be sent as “letter mail” and may be destroyed in the sorting machinery. Please make sure you send the device to the lab within 7 days of ending the test or the test results may come back invalid.
Radon is carcinogenic, and exposure to radon has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer. The objective of this study was to quantify the proportion and number of lung cancer cases in Alberta in 2012 that could be attributed to residential radon exposure. In June 2017, the U of C published a study “Lung cancer incidence attributed to residential radon exposure in Alberta in 2012”. Click here to read the research.
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