Frequently Asked Questions

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Testing Process

Canada is now at the stage where it is no longer sufficient to just promote radon testing. Basic radon testing programs have been in operation for decades, from many, many organizations, yet homes continue to be constructed containing more and more radon, and cases of never-smoker (radon-attributable) lung cancers continue to rise. By testing your home with one of our Evict Radon test kits, you’re automatically enrolled in our research study. Each participant is helping researchers across Canada understand radon exposure and develop new ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Evict Radon embraces research strategies across disciplines to gain the information necessary to:

  • Learn how to engineer out the radon from our buildings before they are even built
  • Identify who are the most at risk from radon in society
  • Make meaningful changes to policy across sectors.

This must be done by strictly adhering to national research ethics standards, as well as best practices for controlled studies that will pass academic peer-review and, ultimately, very close scrutiny from the public and experts. Achieving this is very possible and, if successful, will transform the ability to prevent lung cancers caused by radon.

Generally we advise retests under these conditions:

  1. If you’ve done some renovations or related things that may have altered the way your home “breathes” and air flows within it. Things like this would include, for example, a new furnace, developing a basement, getting new windows or changing the level of window glazing, adding or removing a window/door/wall, adding or decommissioning a chimney, adding new roof insulation, getting a new roof, getting AC, adding HRV to the heating system… and things like that.
  2. Health Canada recommends a retest every 5 years. If you wish to retest your home with Evict Radon, our kits are sold year-round. 

Ending your test:

  • Visit www.evictradon.org and click ‘end my test’
  • Log back into the laboratory website using your commission number and password.
  • Enter your end date
  • Ensure all of your information remains the same, especially your email.
  • Click ‘save all’.

Complete! Take your device to the post office within 7 days of ending it. 

Prepare for Canada Post 

The radon test device is durable and can be placed as is, into the box it arrived in or in a padded or Tyvek envelope. Please take the box or envelope and these instructions to your local post office. Securely tape closed and mail to the North American test collection hub. Sadly, at this time, we do not have a hub in Canada, so it must be sent to:

RadoNova Inc.
900 Oakmont Lane, Suite 207
Westmont, IL, 60559

USA Customs info:
Country of origin: USA
Reason: Return for analysis

Sending it as a “small packet” will cost about $10 without tracking. The device is too large to be sent as “letter mail” and may be destroyed in the postal sorting machine. Please keep a record of the device number (number on the bottom of the device) as well as your start and end dates until you receive your results. The results will be emailed directly to you once the analysis is complete. This may take between 4 – 6 weeks.

Where does my test go from there?

From the North American collection hub, all tests are logged and then shipped en masse in batches to the global laboratory which is based in Uppsala, Sweden, EU. Shipping in bulk like this saves energy, cost and ensures the fastest turnaround time.

Our study uses the only internationally certified (ISO17025) type of radon test device, as this is critical to ensure we get the best possible radon data. There is a single North American collection hub for these devices, which happens to be in Illinois, USA. All our tests must be sent there, where they’ll be logged and forwarded en masse to the global testing lab in Sweden. We have calculated costs, and the most economic (cheapest) and fastest option for everyone is direct shipping from each participant to the collection hub. Your data is not held in the USA, and your test is not going to be ‘read’ in the USA. All data is held on either Canadian or EU servers, both subject to incredibly rigorous data privacy regulations.

No problem, it happens. 

Once you have completed the 90+ day test, you’ll need to end your device by visiting www.evictradon.org and clicking ‘end my test’. 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. Follow the return instructions and take the device to the nearest post office.

We advise that 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.

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.

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. A good idea could be suspending the test device from your ceiling. This will help to keep it safe and unharmed during the testing period.

Most frequently, this is because something went wrong when you registered your device or your email has blocked the email from the lab with your report.

If you still have your commission ID & password, you can check for yourself. Click ‘end my test’ at the top of our website to access the log-in to the lab website directly. Log in using your ID and password. If your lab report is available, you will see a button with ‘download report’. 

It can take 4-8 weeks to get your results depending on a number of factors such as shipping time. If it has been longer than that, send us an email at [email protected] and we will do our best to track down your results. 

 

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 the 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).

Health

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. 

Mitigation

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. If your home is at or near 200 Bq/m3, we recommend you evaluate your relative risk and exposure by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are there babies, kids or teens in the home? If yes, consider mitigating, as young people are at a much higher risk from the negative impact of radon compared to those of older ages (65+).
  • Does anyone work from home or spend most of their days at home? If yes, then consider mitigating, as those individuals are breathing the home’s air for a lot longer than a person leaving for large parts of the day for school or work.
  • Does anyone in the home have a family history of cancer? If yes, consider mitigating, as some families carry altered genes that make them more susceptible to cancer following exposure to radiation.
  • Is anyone in the home a current or former smoker? If yes, consider mitigating. The risk of lung cancer from radon is ‘synergistic’ with the risk from smoking. For example, ‘1 unit’ of risk from smoking plus ‘1 unit’ of risk from radon does not equal 2, rather it is a case of 1+1=17. Smokers (current or former) are much more at risk from radon, and so should protect themselves from radon even if still actively smoking to reduce their chances of cancer in the future.
  • Is anyone in the home exposed to other lung cancer risk factors? If yes, consider mitigating. In addition to smoking (described above), folks who work with or who are exposed often to metal dust (metallurgists, jewellers, machinists, blacksmithy, etc.), leather dust, gasoline or diesel fumes (mechanics, firefighters, etc.), asbestos and heavy air pollution should also aim to reduce their exposure to radon as much as possible

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.

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