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Jose Luis Gutierrez Villanueva

Buildings and radon

By Home, Multi family building No Comments

Your building and radon

It is important to measure radon regardless of where you live

There are many radon maps that classify areas according to their radon exposure. Consequently, many people do not measure radon because they think they live in a radon-free area, but that is wrong. Radon exposure affects almost all people and considerable local differences can exist within the residential areas. Studies carried out by Radonova confirm this throughout results that examine the same residential. That is why it is always important to measure radon and not to rely on radon maps. Radon measurements must be carried out with an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory

Why are there such large local differences in radon content?

It is due to variations in radon in the ground and building construction techniques, what maintenance they have had and whether rebuilding has taken place.

The levels of radon in the ground depend on factors such as the extent to which the elements uranium and radium are present in our rock types and therefore also our soil types. Radon gas comes from these elements and moves through the soil layer with the aid of air and groundwater. This means, for example, that there is a greater risk of radon in buildings constructed on sand and gravel. These highly porous soil types contain large amounts of air that can easily transport radon up into buildings.

Where does radon leak into houses?

Radon from the ground leaks into houses and apartment blocks in many different ways. Unsealed penetrations in the form of incoming electricity and water supplies enable radon to leak into the building. A concrete pad with cracks can also allow radon to leak in.

These causes mean that there are considerable local variations in the radon content in residential areas. It is therefore always important to measure the radon content in the indoor air, regardless of where you live and how you live – in a house or in an apartment building.

Matrasses have high levels of radon gas in Korea

By News No Comments

Korean radioactive beds matrasses

A recent news published in a Korean newspaper has drawn international attention: bed matrasses may be a source of radon gas

The radioactive Korean matrasses

In May 2018, the Korean government confirmed high levels of radon gas exhalation in some beds. Due to that, some beds could be a source of radon gas.

Are matrasses dangerous?

First investigations found out that exhalation levels were 10 times higher than the reference level. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Therefore, beds caught the interest of Korean authorities.

What’s next?

Consumers associations have started actions in the court against the company. In addition, the Korean government has withdrawn all matrasses and asked for expert advice.

Link to the original article can be found here.

A town in Galicia with elevated radon levels

By News No Comments

galicia Costa da morte

A small town in Northwestern Spain has cancer cases 7 times higher than the Spanish average. The town is located in A Coruña, a province in the Autonomous Region of Galicia. Furthermore, this region has high radon levels.

The little town in Galicia: facts

This town has 313 inhabitants and cancer cases account for 23 only on an 800 m road. Also, the rest of the town has a big incidence of cancer cases.

Why?

This region is one of the Radon Priority Areas in Spain. As a result, the high number of cancer cases in this town might be attributable to elevated radon levels. Other public buildings in Galicia have similar radon-related problems.

Available tools

The EURATOM BSS 59/2013 Directive establishes a reference level for radon of 300 Bq m-3 and mandates member states to set up national radon action plans.

Link to original article in Spanish here.

Questions and answers about radon in water

By Measurement 3 Comments

SSM (The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority) has recently published the National Radon Action Plan. Radon in drinking water has been highlighted as one of the risks. As the world’s leading radon laboratory, Radonova Laboratories AB gets a lot of questions about water safety. Below you can find some answers to the most common inquiries we receive on this subject.

Can we find radon in drinking water?

Radon in drinking water can occur primarily in water from wells bored down through solid rock. In Sweden, wells supply water to approximately 800,000 people. More than 6% of these wells are estimated to have such high levels of radon as to be hazardous to health. This means that radon concentrations in these waters may exceed the limit of 1000 Bq l-1, while 60% of wells are in the range of 100-1000 Bq l-1. There is also a risk of elevated radon levels in water wells bored down through soil layers. Data from the SGU (Swedish Geological Survey)shows that 1.6% of these wells are above 1000 Bq l-1and 30% in the range 100-1000 Bq l-1.

How dangerous is radon in water?

Radon in water can be harmful to health in two ways. Firstly, by radon adsorption during and after water intake and second, by radon release from water into indoor air that we breath. Radon from the air is significantly more dangerous because our lungs are more sensitive to radon compared to the stomach. As we now know, radon breaks down over time into radioactive isotopes we call ‘daughters’ with the emission of alpha particles causing lung tissue damage. Thus, high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer. Radon causes about 500 lung cancer cases per year in Sweden and 50% of the victims survive just one year.

How can you measure radon in drinking water?

It is easy to measure radon in water. After ordering a measurement pack from our website, we will send a kit containing a special bottle with clear instructions on how to take the water sample. Once you have filled the bottle with water, send it back to us. The analysis results will be obtained within one week. All Radonova’s measurement methods are accredited by SWEDAC, which means that you can rely on our results.

Work places and EURATOM BSS

By News One Comment

© 06photo – stock.adobe.com

The Directive EURATOM BSS aims to offer a better legal frame to protect people from radon exposure. In particular, it focuses on radon at the work places. The reference level is 300 Bq m-3and every EU country can decide the level they wish to apply.

Check the animation we have created to give a clear message of radon and work places. Enjoy the animation and if you wish you can share what is the situation regarding radon and work places in your country in the comments.

Swedish Radon action plan

By News No Comments

The new national plan for radon in Sweden has been issued in April 2017. This plan is the result of a joint effort of seven central government authorities. The plan mandates the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority to coordinate the work of all the authorities to reduce the radon exposure to the population in Sweden. The reference level is 200 Bq m-3 and you can find further information on the website of SSM. The document (in Swedish) can be downloaded at this link

Radon as tracer and global climate research

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© Asya M – stock.adobe.com

We used to consider radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer. This has been proved by means of many studies and research projects. However, radon can be used as a tracer too. One example is an investigation carried out in Antarctica to look into how the relationship between pollutants reaching Antarctica and global climate models. What stands out from this study in terms of radon metrology is the device developed by Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Have a look at the published paper to observe the very low values this instrument is able to measure. It can measure mBq m-3. For further information check the article published on phys.org.

metroRADON: Metrology for Radon monitoring

By News 2 Comments

Why do we need this project?

On 6th of February 2018, all European member states have had to incorporate into their national legislation the new EURATOM Directive 2013/59. This is a milestone to protect people against the dangers coming from ionising radiation and, in particular, those from radon exposure. Therefore, there are new needs in terms of calibration of radon measuring devices and protocols dealing with radon measurements. Also, as the Directive states the reference level for radon concentration must not exceed 300 Bq.m-3 so the challenge of having traceable and good calibration sources becomes obvious.

Structure and work packages

The project is funded by EMPIR (European Metrology Program for Innovation and Research) and coordinated by BEV/PTPmetroRADON has five main objectives:

  • To establish calibration procedures for measuring instruments capable of detecting low radon concentrations
  • To look into how thoron concentrations may affect radon measurements
  • To revise the existing radon measurement protocols in Europe and enhance such practices all over the continent
  • To provide support for the implementation of the new Directive in terms of the definition of RPA (Radon Priority Areas)
  • To revise the existing radon calibration facilities in Europe

Apart from the above, there are other objectives in terms of dissemination of results and enhanced communication that make metroRADON a very ambitious project that will be running for the next 3 years.

Partners

There are 17 partners involved in the project. Eight of them come from national metrological institutes and the rest are from research centers and universities. The following countries are represented: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland. The European Commission is represented by the JRC (Joint Research Centre). In addition to that, 25 companies compose the Industry Interest Group and among them, Radonova laboratories AB from Sweden are an active participant.

Timeline

The project will extend from June 2017 until June 2020. Every six months a newsletter will be issued showing progress and upcoming activities. All the information is available on the website www.metroradon.eu

Financial support to fight against the silent killer

By News No Comments

© Lucian Milasan – stock.adobe.com

Last February 2018, the 28 EU member states had to implement the EURATOM BSS 59/2013 Directive into their national legislation. An interesting part of this document is the Annex XVIII with a list of 14 items to consider by the governments during the design of the national radon action plans. The item 12 says “Where appropriate, provision of financial support for radon surveys and for remedial measures, in particular for private dwellings with very high radon concentrations”. The Swedish and Spanish governments are an example of this. As of 1st July 2018, homeowners can receive up to 25000 SEK to reduce the radon levels indoors. But before doing this, radon measurements must have been done using the services of an accredited laboratory as it is the case of Radonova Laboratories AB. In Spain, the national building plan includes in the Art. 36 the possibility of providing financial support to reduce radon levels below 300 Bq m-3.

High radon levels at the Royal palace in Stockholm

By News No Comments

© Leonid Andronov – stock.adobe.com

The new EURATOM BSS Directive 59/2013 aims to protect workers from the dangers coming from the exposure to radon gas. However, when we think of work places, usually we do not think in places like government buildings or royal palaces. But these buildings may be at risk of having high radon concentrations too. This is the case of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden. High radon levels up to 15000 Bq m-3 have been reported on this location. We must remember that the reference level for radon in Sweden is 200 Bq m-3. For further information, you can check the news on the Swedish TV website and the VVS forum