School Screening Project 2020-2022

In September 2020, the Air Quality program successfully applied for and received funding from Health Canada for a Radon Outreach Project. The project’s goal: by initiating screening of radon levels in selected schools in the Central Okanagan, school operators will learn how easy it is to test for radon and get radon on their agenda.  Schools will also mitigate where necessary to lower radon exposure to children and staff, and raise radon awareness throughout the region via an online campaign.

This is a collaborative project with School District 23, Independent Schools, Interior Health, CARST and Health Canada, which saw 55 elementary schools screened for radon in 2020-2022.   The schools have all received their results.  We can confirm that all schools that tested with radon levels above Health Canada’s guideline have initiated action to address and reduce levels.  

When testing schools for radon, Health Canada’s Guide for Radon Measurement in Public Buildings is to be followed, which involves testing every ground-contact occupied room.  This very thorough approach requires a large number of radon detectors, whereas this screening program provided only a sample number of detectors.  All schools which were not fully tested according to Health Canada’s guideline were provided with recommendations to purchase additional detectors to ensure the school was completely tested.

A summary report was created of the results.

All schools across Canada should be tested for radon.  CAREX has produced a report providing information to understand how many schools in Canada have been tested, but we encourage every parent and staff member of a school to talk with their school administration and ask if the school has been tested for radon.  Administrators should follow Health Canada guidelines for testing and, if results are elevated, radon levels should be lowered within the recommended time frames.