Radon Awareness FAQ

Saskatchewan & Alberta are known hotspots in Canada for radon gas.

What is radon gas? Radon is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soils and rocks.

How does radon get into a home? Radon can enter a home through foundation cracks and similar unsealed openings in basement walls and floors. Radon levels are generally highest in cellars and basements because these areas are nearest to the source and are usually poorly ventilated.

What does it do? Although you will experience no immediate symptoms, the gas can damage lungs at the DNA level, potentially leading to cancer, when inhaled at high levels over many years.

How serious is the threat? Radon is the leading source of lung cancer after smoking. It is estimated to kill 2,000 Canadians every year. Because there is some risk at any level, homeowners may want to have their homes tested and take any steps to reduce their exposure to radon, regardless of levels tested.

What are the changes to the radon guidelines? Health Canada’s new guideline was developed in partnership with the provinces and territories. It is now 200 becquerels (“bec‐ krells”) per cubic metre, much reduced from 800 becquerels per cubic metre.

Health Canada’s guideline for radon has always been based on the best available scientific evidence of health risk and two recent, independent scientific studies in Europe and North America have shown that the lung cancer risks extend to levels of radon found in some homes.

How do I know if my home is at risk? The only way to determine the actual concentration of radon in a home is by a direct measurement. got mold? can assist in getting a test available for your building envelope. The tests can take three to six months to complete. The best time to test is between September and April, when your windows and doors are closed.

Which is at a higher risk? New or older homes? Radon can enter any home. However, remediation options available to you may differ, depending on the type of foundation you have. If building a new home, speak to your builder about construction options that may reduce your risk. Every new home should be tested for radon by the homeowner after occupancy.

What if I get an unacceptably high reading? Radon concentrations in a home can usually be lowered by: reducing the emission from the ground into the building (for example, sealing cracks in cement foundations), and increasing the ventilation in basements and other enclosed areas where radon accumulates.

Is the remediation work costly? Costs typically range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the amount and type of work needed. Please note that radon ‐ reduction mediation techniques may also result in energy savings and lower your utility bills

Will radon lower my property values? That depends on individual buyers. Some might be scared off, whereas others might feel more comfortable knowing the owner has looked for radon and, where applicable, done the remediation.

Does Saskatchewan & Alberta have radon “hot spots”? Radon levels vary not only from one geographic area to another, but from house to house. A survey conducted by Health Canada in the 1970s showed that radon levels in certain Canadian cities were higher than in others. However, these same studies showed that it is impossible to predict whether any one house will have a high level of radon. Your home may have very little radon gas, while your neighbour’s house has significant levels.

How safe are multi‐unit dwellings? Based on past experience, multi‐story apartment buildings are much less likely to have radon problems.

How safe are public facilities (hospitals and schools)? Government and Certain jurisdictions are currently testing for radon, for example they are testing school divisions that wish to have their facilities tested. Initial testing has been completed. In the case of health care facilities, officials from Saskatchewan Health will work with Regional Health Authorities and other stakeholder groups to ensure that owners/operators of these facilities have the necessary information to determine the safety of their facilities, and collectively determine if strategies to address radon need to be developed to maintain safe facilities.

Fill out the form to the right to test your home of office for Radon.

Common Air Pollutants & How To Improve Indoor Air Quality In Your Home Or Office

Common Air Pollutants & How To Improve Indoor Air Quality In Your Home Or Office
We spend most of our time indoors. We think we’re safe inside, but poor indoor air quality can put us at risk for health problems such as sore eyes, burning in the nose and throat, headaches or fatigue. Indoor air pollutants can cause or worsen allergies, respiratory illnesses (i.e. asthma), heart disease, cancer and other serious chronic conditions.
Some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, can cause death! Take the time to learn about indoor air pollutants and you may be saving the health of yourself and others.
Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Radon
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from soil. It can enter the indoors through cracks and openings in the floors and walls. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in general.
Secondhand Smoke
Created by burning tobacco products, secondhand smoke can cause cancer and other respiratory illnesses. In children, secondhand smoke can cause or worsen asthma symptoms and has been shown to be linked to increased risk of ear infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Combustion Pollutants
These are pollutants that come from burning materials, such as are generated from improperly vented or unvented fuel-burning appliances (space heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers and fireplaces).
Common combustible pollutants are:
Carbon monoxide (CO) – CO is colourless and odourless gas. It can cause headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and death.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – NO2 is a colourless and odourless gas. It can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, and
  increase the risk of respiratory infection.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are chemicals that evaporate from paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, varnishes and waxes, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment, moth repellents, air fresheners and dry-cleaned clothing. VOCs irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and can cause headaches, nausea, organ damage, and sometimes cancer.
Asthma Triggers
Commonly found in homes, schools and offices, asthma triggers include mold, dust mites, secondhand smoke and pet dander. Mold can grow on shower curtains, dust mites can live in pillows, blankets or stuffed animals, secondhand smoke could pollute the air, and pet hair could litter the carpet or floors.
Asthma triggers cause coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and breathing problems. They can even trigger an asthma attack, which can be life threatening. Asthma triggers can be easily reduced by professional cleaning and air quality expert service.
Molds
Molds produce spores that float through the air and find damp surfaces upon which they grow. Inhaling or touching molds can cause hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash.
Protect yourself and your family from indoor pollutants by contacting our office to schedule an indoor air quality test.
You can improve indoor air quality at your home or business by performing these simple steps:
1. Have an Indoor Air Quality Inspection
    One cannot control indoor pollutants if they are unknown. An indoor air quality
    inspection can identify the presence and potential sources for many pollutants.
    Give us a call to schedule a free inspection at your home or business.
2. Control the Sources of Pollution
    Ventilate the area by increasing the amount of fresh air and therefore reducing the
    concentration of indoor air pollutants.
3. Change Filters Regularly
    Change the filters in your central heaters and air conditioners. They serve to trap
    dust and other pollutants in the air.
4. Adjust the Humidity
    High humidity can increase the likelihood of mold growth. Keep indoor humidity
    30-50% by using a moisture or humidity gauge, which are available at
    most hardware stores.

If you are interested in an indoor air quality test call today for peace of mind! Serving all of Saskatchewan & Alberta.

 

Mans Best Friend Can Also Detect Mold

Mold Detection Certified Dogs can save the consumer thousands in pinpointing the location of the mold in a building.

Mold Detection Certified Dogs can save the consumer thousands in pinpointing the location of the mold in a building.

Dogs have been used for years by military and law enforcement agencies to detect bombs and drugs, among other things. In Europe, dogs have been used to detect mold for over 20 years.

Mold frequently grows in hidden places, inside wall cavities, underneath floors and in inaccessible areas and is often not visible until the problem is more advanced. When moisture builds up from leaky pipes, roofs, basements or high humidity, conditions are ideal for mould growth. Moulds are easily disturbed and their spores can become airborne causing a possible threat to the building or the health of the occupants. Exposure to some types of moulds can cause serious health effects such as respiratory infection, asthma attacks, skin rashes, eye infections, ear infections, nosebleeds and headaches. In rare cases toxic mould can cause cancer and even death.

Certified Mold Dogs detect and pinpoint exact areas of mold, which leads to lower remediation costs for homeowners and insurers.

A MOLD DOG can get to places faster than people, and can detect mold in places that people can’t reach. Human inspectors might be in a building for four hours performing Indoor Air Quality tests and sampling and even using thermal imaging cameras before finding the mold where as a mold dog can sniff it out and represents the newest tool for consumers in North America to detect and more importantly, pinpoint mold in structures, thus lowering remediation costs.

Top 5 Reasons to use a mold dog

1. Mold Dogs are a Proven Technology. In Europe, dogs have been used to detect mold for over 20 years.
2. A Mold Dog  is an Effective Problem Solver. Mold Dogs can quickly and more accurately inspect a home.
3. A Mold Dog’s Nose is a More Accurate Tool. The “Nose” is cutting-edge technology in the home inspection industry. It is the only inspection tool that can detect and pinpoint sources of mold.
4. A Dog Will Help You Manage Your Exposure to Mold. Quicker and more accurate detection of mold leads to lower remediation costs. For schools, hotels, commercial, and government buildings, savings can be quite substantial.
5. A Dog Provides Honest and Credible Results. Mold-detection dogs aren’t biased.

Further Research Linking Mold With Asthma

Further Research Linking Mold With Asthma
Yet another study has been published that links the presence of mold with asthma.
The study by Dr. Richard Sharpe of the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK, found that increased levels of the fungal species Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium can pose a significant health risk to people with asthma. The study further concludes that these fungi will worsen symptoms in children and adults.
Cladosporium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Penicillium species were found to be present in higher concentrations in homes of asthmatic participants. Exposure to Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium species were found to be associated with increased risk of reporting asthma symptoms by a limited number of studies. The presence of Cladosporium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Penicillium species increased the exacerbation of current asthma symptoms by 36% to 48% compared with those exposed to lower concentrations of these fungi, as shown by using random-effect estimates. Studies were of medium quality and showed medium-high heterogeneity, but evidence concerning the specific role of fungal species was limited. (Indoor fungal diversity and asthma: A meta-analysis and systematic review of risk factors)
These conclusions were based on findings gathered by systematically reviewing 17 studies that were done in 8 different countries.
During an interview by Dr. Marie Benz of www.medicalresearch.com, Dr. Sharpe emphasizes the following:
1. Dampness and fungal contamination in the home has been consistently shown to increase the risk of asthma and the severity of its symptoms.
2. Majority of the evidence reviewed focuses on the exacerbation of asthma symptoms, and few assess their role in the development of asthma.
3. So far Aspergillus and Penicillium species have already been linked to an increase in the risk of asthma development in children, but we know little about the effects of the other species we considered.
4. Dampness is one of the major factors affecting the growth of mold inside homes – a problem which has been on the rise as aging houses are sealed and retrofitted with new energy efficient technology. We currently know very little about how people’s living habits can contribute to indoor air quality, and ultimately affect their health. This study highlights the need for homes to have adequate heating, ventilation and home maintenance – all factors that will help to reduce the presence of mold and its effects on asthma symptoms.
If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.

Asthma In School Children Caused By Mold!

Asthma In School Children Caused By Mold!
In about 30 days, summer holidays will be over and our children will be back in school. One of the questions we have been researching is the impact that poor air quality has on the health of children. In fact, February, 2012, Got Mold? posed the question: Should Canadian School Boards be Concerned About Mold?. This question stemmed from the fact that earlier that year, CNN reported that one-third of American schools had poor air quality.
One of the most common health concerns for children is asthma. What causes asthma?
One study based on a survey of more than 10,000 university students, cited that there was a strong correlation between mold and asthma.
Another study of 300 children found a strong correlation that three species of mold–Aspergillus ochraceus, Aspergillus unguis and Penicillium variabile–caused asthma in children. The studies author went on to conclude that: “It’s proof of common sense that you want to take care of mold in the home. It’s just proving that if you don’t do that, your kids are more likely to develop asthma.
December, 2013 the New York City Housing Authority was forced to recognize mold as a health threat and specifically that one of the core causes of asthma was moisture and mold.
It would appear that more research is pointing to the fact that the prevalent and core cause of asthma in children is, indeed, mold.
Research out of Taiwan, provides even more proof that mold causes asthma.
The researchers studied school children aged 6 to 15 years old in 44 schools and concluded that:
Classroom Aspergillus/Penicillium and basidiospores are significantly associated with childhood asthma and asthma with symptoms reduced on holidays or weekends (ASROH). Government health policy should explore environmental interventions for the elimination of fungal spores in classrooms to reduce the prevalence of childhood asthma.
Based on this conclusion, it is fairly clear that parents, teachers, school trustees, and the government needs to take the issue of mold in schools seriously. It is no longer a theory that poor air quality affects the health of school children, it is fairly clear that it does. It is also fair to conclude that the prevalent cause of childhood asthma is mold.
If we want to reduce the number of children with asthma, then the obvious solution is to address the issue of poor air quality in schools. Will this happen? I am hopeful, but in an age of constant government cutbacks and tight budgets, the likelihood of this happening is not very high. The driving force for change in schools will ultimately have to be the parents whose children are impacted by poor air quality.
As a parent, the only way you can determine if your child’s school is causing sickness is to monitor their health during the summer when they are away from school and monitor their health when they are in school.
Here are some questions you may want to consider when your child is back in school.
How do I know if my child is getting sick at school from mold?
Some children are more sensitive than others. But watch out for symptoms that seem to appear only at school – for example, wheezing, hoarseness, cough, runny nose, acid reflux, digestive issues, headache and irritated eyes.
What should I do if I suspect my child is getting sick because of school?
Visit your children’s classrooms and other parts of their schools. Do you see or smell mold or mildew? Are there signs of water leaks on walls, around windows or on the ceiling?
Musty and earthy odors are always an indication that a mold problem is present. Dirty carpet and water damage might also mean mold and bad air quality. Mold grows where there’s moisture.
How do I know if it’s mold?
If you see fuzzy, slimy, or discolored surfaces — especially in damp or wet areas — it’s probably mold. Molds can be green, black, gray, purple or even orange.
What if I see a problem?
Alert your principal or a School Board member. A lot of times, it will take more than one call or e-mail to get a response. Although calls might be quicker, your letters will provide a paper trail. Also, be sure to log all your calls, letters and observations. Inform other parents of the problem.
How can I protect my child?
Educate yourself. Talk to school officials about what they’re doing to control humidity and how quickly they’re fixing leaky roofs and windows. Ask to see copies of investigative reports and work orders for repairs and mold removal. Finally, ensure that your child is maintaining a healthy diet so their immune system is strong.
If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.