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Accreditation guarantees accurate radon measurement

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Accreditation guarantees the quality of a radon measurement, in part because the laboratory’s measurement processes are regularly checked by independent organizations. However, most of the world’s radon laboratories are not accredited, which to many might seem a little strange. Why is this? Firstly, accreditation entails a large additional cost and secondly customers do not demand it, but this is expected to change.
The definition of an accredited radon measurement is a measurement obtained using radon detectors from a laboratory which is accredited according to ISO/IEC 17025 and follows the instructions that accompany the detectors.

Why is accreditation important?

When a customer orders a radon measurement, the expectation is that the measurement is conducted professionally and accurately – a non-accredited laboratory cannot guarantee this.
– An incorrect procedure can, for example, lead to measuring too low values, although the user is actually measuring an indoor environment with high radon levels. For those who live or work in such an environment, the risk of suffering from lung cancer increases and unfortunately the individual will not be aware of this. Conversely, carrying out a measurement that incorrectly shows too high values also has undesirable consequences. This means time and money is invested to reduce radon levels even though it is not necessary, comments Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.
The conclusion is therefore obvious: always use radon measurement technology from an accredited laboratory. In Sweden, the authorities also require accreditation.

What differentiates an accredited radon laboratory?
An accreditation according to the laboratory standard ISO/IEC 17025 sets a quality level for the business. This includes mandatory requirements for quality systems and competence.

Factors that differentiate Radonova from other providers:

  • Our measurement processes are continuously revised by an independent government agency. They check that we meet different measurement standards and ISO/IEC 17025. In Radonova’s case, it is SWEDAC, the national accreditation body for Sweden, that continuously tests that the company is competent to carry out the accredited tests.
  • We are monitored for impartiality – there should be no self-interest for Radonova to provide a certain measurement result. For example, if you conduct radon consulting, it could be tempting to show too high values because it would generate more jobs. We do not do that.
  • We continuously calibrate our measuring equipment and radon detectors against a known radon source, e.g. Radon chamber of the Radiation Safety Authority.
  • We participate in demanding national and international comparison tests.

Note, accreditation may relate to different measurement methods. Therefore, it is important to check what types of measurements a laboratory is accredited for. Radonova is accredited for both indoor air and water measurements. Here you will find more information about Radonova and our accredited measurement methods.

Customers can trust a measurement from Radonova

Since October 1995, Radonova has been an accredited test laboratory for radon. This means that we can guarantee high quality and accurate radon measurements. With accreditation and the market’s fastest delivery and analysis times, we have become the first choice for individuals and businesses who want to carry out a correct radon measurement as efficiently as possible.

Measuring radon in water – Radonova gets top marks in EU test

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Radonova Laboratories has achieved excellent results in the comparative EU test “REM 2018”. The test measures the incidence of radon in water and compares participating laboratories’ analytical results with a reference value. Radonova’s analysis had an average deviation of 3.1 per cent in relation to the reference value. Deviations up to 15 per cent are judged to be an acceptable result.  

“This is a large-scale international test that demonstrates that Radonova’s method of measuring radon in drinking water is reliable and very precise. Radon in water does not necessarily present a major problem. However, radon that evaporates into indoor air when, for example, we take a shower, wash up or do laundry, can be a health hazard. For this reason it is important for studies and tests of this kind to be conducted,” comments Tryggve Rönnqvist, technical manager at Radonova Laboratories.

The comparative test covers a total of 101 participating laboratories, some of which have been involved in more than one analysis. The full name of the test is “REM 2018 radon-in-water proficiency test”.

About radon gas in water     

Radon in water easily evaporates into the air. This in turn can contribute to raised radon levels in the indoor air, and leads to an increased risk of lung cancer. Radon levels of 1,000 Bq/l can add roughly another 100 Bq/m³ to the indoor air. It is primarily radon gas in drinking water from drilled wells that must be measured, in order to ensure that the water does not contain dangerous levels of radon.

For further information about radon in water, visit https://radonovalaboratories.com/questions-and-answers-about-radon-in-water/

ATMOS: New version of the world’s lightest and most sensitive radon sniffer

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Radonova Laboratories is launching a completely new version of the radon sniffer ATMOS. The new version weighs 4.5 kg , has a new design, several new features and enhanced software functionality. The new ATMOS is designed to enable even faster and more efficient radon measurements in the field. The latest version of ATMOS is now commercially available.
The instrument has been developed to meet the needs of an international market that is growing and demanding modern, user-friendly instruments for radon measurement.

Increased demand for radon measurement

The need for reliable and flexible field instruments has increased as more and more homes and workplaces show increased levels of radon.
In the case of a radon inspection, the user normally searches for the leakage of radon and therefore needs an instrument that can quickly display the correct radon content. Therefore, there is sometimes a need to measure the variation of radon every minute and in various contexts to clarify daytime variations. In this circumstance, ATMOS makes the radon consultant’s everyday life easier and more efficient.

Fast and reliable measurement reports

ATMOS is unique because it is the most sensitive and lightest instrument that can be used both in the field and in a laboratory.
– Thanks to its light compact format and general portability, ATMOS can easily be taken out for radon inspection of properties. The updated software makes it very easy to extract data and quickly create reliable measurement reports. The latest version of ATMOS enables radon consultants to conduct considerably more measurements compared to other instruments on the market in a 24 hour period, says Patrik Starck, technical physicist and Radonova’s development manager.
– Compared to previous versions, the instrument has essentially been completely redesigned. The only part that remains is the measuring chamber. That particular part is based on a proven technique and it is doubtful whether you can improve the design, continues Patrik Starck.

Growing international market

Previous versions of ATMOS have mainly been delivered and used in Sweden. With increased international demand, Radonova has scaled production at the company’s plant in Uppsala.
– It is of course gratifying when we now see clear demand outside Sweden. The new ATMOS has been launched after several years of research and development. The positive response from the market is an acknowledgment that more and more people and businesses are seeing the benefits of the instrument, comments Karl Nilsson, CEO, Radonova Laboratories.

New ATMOS specifications:

  • Light and compact, simplifying field work
  • Weight: 4.5 kg Size: 500 x 385 x 220 mm (W x H x D)
  • New software enables fast and secure measurement reports
  • The pulsation chamber has high sensitivity and a fast response time
  • Chirp function – listens to how high the content is in confined spaces
  • Communication to PC via USB
  • > 10 year history for measurement data

The basic version of ATMOS costs SEK 89,450 excluding VAT.

Risks with radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that forms naturally when the substance Uran238 decomposes. Thereafter, the radon gas, in turn, decomposes into radond daughters. Radon daughters are radioactive metal atoms that get stuck in our airways during inhalation. When this disintegration occurs, radiation is emitted from the radon daughters that can damage the cells in our airways and lungs. In the worst case, they can cause cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3-14 percent of all lung cancer cases are caused by radon depending on where you live. Therefore, WHO recommends a radon level limit of 100 Bq/m3.

ATMOS product description

ATMOS has a built-in dehumidification to ensure that the moisture content of the air does not interfere with the measurement. The dehumidifier works in saturated moisture at temperatures up to 40ºC. 40 degrees C. ATMOS also shows a table of the 10 latest measured levels per selected integration time. To each calculated radon measurement the user is presented with the associated uncertainty in measurement. The dehumidification of the air in ATMOS takes place automatically and is fully integrated in the instrument. The atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity of the air are shown in the display and stored together with each measurement. Due to the fact that the measurement value is displayed directly at a new measurement, the user does not have to wait for the end of the measuring cycle.
ATMOS includes software for analyzing measurement data. The display is a 3.5 ? touch screen that shows the radon content in Bq/m³, the uncertainty since the start time of the measurement, integration time, measurement time, time and date. In addition, a field storage bag with detachable lid, 24VDC mains adapter and 3 meter hose with instrument adapter are included. The readout and reporting software works in Windows and is included with the instrument. The software is used to read out stored measurement data to evaluate time variations and energy spectrum. In addition, the software is compatible with older versions of Windows.
The instrument measures the alpha decay of radon and its daughters and is completely insensitive to gamma radiation. The alpha energies of the different isotopes are detected and the radon concentration is displayed in a touch display on the instrument. The user selects the desired integration time, the longer the time the more accurate the measurement. The measurement energy spectrum is stored every 10 minutes during the measurement and always gives the user the opportunity to quality-assure the measurement data. A measurement value is displayed directly at a new measurement and the user does not have to wait.

More information about new ATMOS is available here»
More information on radon and radon measurement can be found here»

How many radon detectors are needed to measure a workplace?

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Since the EU’s new radiation protection directive (2013/59/Euratom) came into force in 2018, it is mandatory that employers should be aware of radon levels in the workplace. The new directive has entailed new national laws in member states, which has resulted in an increasing number of workplaces measuring radon levels. However, at the same time, there is a lack of knowledge about how a safe and reliable radon measurement should be conducted.

As the world’s leading radon laboratory, Radonova Laboratories has produced a “how to guide” that can help employers carry out radon measurements correctly.

First get an overview – long term measurement by an accredited laboratory

If you have never measured radon before, you should start first with a preliminary measurement by an accredited laboratory. These measurements should be carried out over a three-month period in order to obtain an annual average of the radon level. Note, this initial measurement must be performed during specific measurement seasons in some countries.

The main cost is not radon detectors – make sure you get it right from the start

When ordering a radon measurement, a common question is how many radon doses are needed. Unfortunately, many countries do not have an official methodology detailing how a measurement at a workplace should be carried out. And if there is, they are usually very difficult to interpret for most employers. Therefore, it can be hard to estimate the number of radon doses required. For this reason, we recommend that employers who measure radon levels use the international methodology recommended by The International Radon Measurement Association (IRMA). Yes, it will result in more measuring points than is suggested by a national organisation, but by following IRMA guidelines you do not risk missing certain areas of the workplace, which can result in time-consuming remeasuring.

The main cost of workplace radon measurement is in the deployment and collection of detectors and the investment in radon consultants if remeasurements are required. In the event of elevated radon levels, the commissioned radon consultant will be in a position to work more efficiently if more points have been measured at the outset. So, by following IRMA guidelines, you will have access to relevant documentation which enables you to conduct measurements which are appropriate for your business.

Rules for calculating the number of radon detectors.

The guidelines in IRMA’s method description for calculating the number of radon doses required are straightforward. By following them, you will also meet national criteria for measuring radon in workplaces.

Here’s how to calculate the number of radon detectors based on IRMA’s guidelines:

• Radon detectors should be placed in rooms where employees spend more than 4 hours per day and in basements where staff stay more than 50 hours a year

• For larger rooms and premises in the ground floor or basement, a radon detector per 150 m² should be placed

• For larger rooms and premises on other floors, a radon detector per 250 m² should be placed

• Use at least two radon detectors per building and floor

• Always measure in rooms where you and your colleagues spend the most time

If you have additional questions about the required number of radon doses and how to conduct a radon measurement, why not contact Radonova’s specialists.

Radiation measurement: from timber to wild boar

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Radonova’s story begins in 1986 when a group of researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden were commissioned to measure the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl accident in Sweden and beyond. Today the company focuses primarily on radon measurement, a field in which we are the global leader.

Each year, though, Radonova also carries out a large number of radiation measurements on everything from wild game meat to timber. Our customers are authorities, private individuals and companies.

“Although our core business these days is radon measurement in homes and other premises, we regularly carry out other forms of radiation analyses. We have so far conducted around half a million analyses, in addition to radon measurement,” comments Oscar Wännerud, a laboratory manager at Radonova Laboratories.

Participated in several wildlife projects

Over the years Radonova has collaborated on projects with a number of authorities and organisations. Radonova also performs caesium analyses for customers in Europe and Asia.

“A lot of our analyses have involved reindeer meat and have been commissioned by the Swedish Board of Agriculture and more recently Sametinget (the Sami Parliament). We have also carried out a large number of measurements on wild boar meat and have participated in the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority’s project offering free measurement of caesium-137 in meat from wild boar,” continues Oscar.

Radiation levels can be high in wild boar because the animals root for food and consume berries, mushrooms and roots or other foodstuffs that have lain in the soil for a long time. The wild boar also ingests a lot of soil that may also contain caesium-137.

Easy to carry out radiation measurement

Like radon measurement, radiation measurement of foodstuffs and other items is often relatively simple. “Generally speaking, it is easy to order and submit a sample of foodstuff for radiation measurement. Over the years we have received a lot of foodstuffs, including wild game meat, mushrooms, berries and fish, as well as some more unusual items, such as a tree stump, a cot, lynx testicles, vodka, snus and cigarettes. These are items you wouldn’t normally associate with radioactive radiation. When it comes to foodstuffs and items that are in close proximity to people for a prolonged period, it is, of course, prudent to conduct a measurement. Especially when you consider that exposure to radiation can have serious consequences and increase the risk of cancer,” concludes Oscar Wännerud.

Read more about caesium in wild game meat»

British Columbia Lung Association to Provide Radonova’s Test Kits for Home, Workplace and School Radon Monitoring

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Through its partnership with Radon Environmental, the British Columbia Lung Association (BCLA) is providing Radonova’s radon detectors to consumers to offer a fast, efficient, and accurate way to find out if your home, school or workplace has potentially hazardous indoor radon levels. The detectors supplied by the BCLA gives the public the option of choosing either a short or long-term test kit. All test kits provided are recognized by Health Canada and C-NRPP certified. This news follows on from The Lung Association – Ontario also announcing that it would be offering Radonova’s state-of-the-art radon monitors to the general public.

“The air you breathe, regardless of where you live or work, is important to your health. The BC Lung Association is committed to protecting your breathing and that’s why we are excited about being able to offer a variety of radon test kits for the public,” said Christopher Lam, President & CEO of the BC Lung Association.

The two alpha track radon detection devices the BCLA will be making available to the public are Rapidos and Radtrak². Rapidos is a short-term radon measurement test kit that captures a measurement of radon levels over a 10-30 day period. Measurement reports are available from Radonova’s laboratory within 1-2 weeks after the laboratory has received the detectors.

Both accurate and flexible, Rapidos is one of the most effective and flexible ways to measure radon in residential buildings, workplaces and schools.

Radtrak² is Radonova’s flagship long-term radon test kit and tests home’s and workplaces for radon over a sustained period, as encouraged by Health Canada. With ultra-high accuracy over a prolonged period of time, it provides a full and clear perspective on the risk of radon exposure in the tested location.

Radon is an invisible, odourless and tasteless gas that can accumulate to unnaturally high and dangerous levels in homes and workplaces. Young people and children are more vulnerable to radiation as they have higher respiratory rates than adults. However, consumer knowledge on how to detect Radon and meaningfully reduce exposure is still relatively low.

Bill Rounds, President at Radonova, said: “Our work with the various Lung Associations in Canada highlights that the general public and businesses are gradually becoming more aware of the dangers of radon. Radon is a global health problem that is estimated to cause 230,000 cases of lung cancer each year¹. A recent report by the World Health Organization states that radon should be regarded as a carcinogen on a par with tobacco smoke². The technologies we offer ensure customers are receiving a reliable, high quality measurement that will aide in helping individuals make decisions about their home’s indoor air quality. Living with high radon is truly an unnecessary health risk. Elevated radon levels in the home can easily be reduced, but you have to test to know.”

Radon Environmental President & CEO, Alan Whitehead commented: “We’re delighted to have expanded our Radon Testing Device and Service Agreement with the British Columbia Lung Association, to provide our extended range of Radonova short term (Rapidos) and long term (Radtrak²) alpha track radon detection devices. We supply many local health authorities and public testing initiatives across Canada and our partnership with the BCLA will lead to increased public awareness and radon testing in British Columbia. Radtrak² has the largest range of detection of any alpha track device and the Radonova laboratory is the only ISO17025 certified alpha track testing facility of its kind, so our clients can be confident in the lab analysis and its QA process. One of the features that our clients like the most is RadOnline, Radonova’s online customer portal. Through MyPages, customers can easily input measurement data, retrieve reports, and have an overview on every project, in real-time.”

To learn more about radon testing and to purchase a test kit, BC residents can visit here. Short and long-term radon tests include delivery of confidential lab test results.
Radonova is the laboratory of choice for numerous government radon surveys, as well as other public and private sector large scale measurement contracts around the world. A truly global laboratory, Radonova is active in over 50 countries and has performed millions of measurements.

For more information on radon and radon measurement visit click here.
For more information, please contact Bill Rounds, President of Radonova
Phone: +1.331.814.2201, E-mail: bill.rounds@radonova.com

¹ Environmental Health Perspectives, 31 May 2018, https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/EHP2503.
² World Health Organisation, ‘Guidelines on Housing and Health’, 27 November 2018, https://www.who.int/sustainable-development/publications/housing-health-guidelines/en/.

Busy Times in the Radonova Lab – Nearly 30,000 Detectors Analyzed in One Week

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May always equates to a seasonal peak for Radonova. This year, the world’s leading radon laboratory beat previous records for the number of detectors analyzed in one week. Oscar Wännerud who is responsible for Radonova’s laboratory, comments on the season high:

– In May, we enter our most intensive period when it comes to incoming deliveries of radon detectors. In many countries, the radon measurement season ends at the end of April, resulting in a peak of incoming detectors. This year we peaked in the third week of May when we analyzed a total of 29,626 detectors. It is a historical record for Radonova and another acknowledgment that we are the world leader in radon measurement and analysis.

Maintaining quality standards and rapid analysis in the face of increased digitization

– One of the biggest challenges during this part of the season is to keep the analysis time down. This was achieved even though there were huge volume pressures on the laboratory. It’s worth stating that customers should register their information via My pages. By doing so, they are guaranteed to get the shortest possible analysis time. – At our laboratory we have a committed and competent workforce with extensive experience in the radon industry, increased digitization and automation means that we are scaling-up our operations but never at the expense of quality. – As a service we are constantly evolving and questioning established routines. We believe it is always possible to improve processes to ensure smoother operations.

The significance of new legislation

Since the EU’s new Radiation Protection Directive (2013/59/Euratom) began to be applied in 2018, Europe’s employers have become responsible for controlling the radon content in workplaces.

– We have seen a clear increase in the number of companies measuring radon in the work environment. Given the health risks that elevated radon levels causes, it feels good to be part of a team that is ensuring that fewer people are exposed to high radon levels. Remember it is easy to measure radon, both for private individuals and employers. Our customer service team is always keen to speak to anyone who has questions or is uncertain about how to go about conducting a test.

Read more about radon and its risks here»

Intercomparison test: Radonova receives high marks from PHE

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Radonova Laboratories has achieved outstanding results in a preliminary comparative reference test performed by the state-owned PHE (Public Health England). The intercomparison tests were performed at five different radon levels – Radonova participated with two different types of detectors for each exposure. In all ten cases, Radonova’s results differed by less than 4% from the respective reference value.
During the reference test, radon detectors were exposed to different levels of radon. The results are then compared to the official reference values as dictated by PHE. Radonova’s detector Duotrak had a particularly small deviation where three out of five tests deviated by less than one per cent from the reference value.

Demanding test

“For several years, Radonova has regularly been involved in this type of comparative reference test. We are consistently given high marks but are still very pleased by the fact that this is probably our best result so far. It feels particularly good when we are constantly working on developing and refining our radon detectors as well as instruments and measuring methods,” said Radonova Laboratories CEO, Karl Nilsson.
“PHE’s comparative reference test is among the most demanding in the industry. It tests both low and high exposures which places particularly high demands on reliability. We are always looking to offer our customers the highest quality technology and take this as an acknowledgment that we continue to be at the forefront of the market for radon measurements,” comments Bill Rounds, President of Radonova.
The radon detectors were subjected to exposure between 137 – 2180 kBqh/m3. PHE is expected to publish the report towards the end of 2019.

For more information on radon and radon measurements visit www.radonova.com.
For more information, please contact Bill Rounds, President of Radonova
Phone: +1.331.814.2201, E-mail: bill.rounds@radonova.com

Short-term measurement of radon: the right choice when selling a house

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Radon is an issue that frequently crops up in connection with the sale of a house. When time pressures are a factor and quick decisions are needed, up-to-date and reliable measurement of radon levels in the home is often overlooked. One solution in these cases may be short-term measurement. Correctly performed short-term measurement provides both buyer and seller with an indication of the radon level and data that can simplify the process going forward.

The world’s most accurate short-term measurement

In order to meet demand for reliable measurements, Radonova has developed the world’s most accurate radon detector for short-term measurement – Rapidos. Rapidos is currently used the world over and often in connection with the sale of houses. So what makes Rapidos better than other radon detectors?

The most important features that distinguish Rapidos from other detectors are:

  • Option to measure radon levels as low as 50 Bq/m³
  • Extremely reliable result compared with other solutions for short-term measurement
  • Safe, date-marked vacuum packs for delivery of the radon detectors
  • The market’s fastest analysis and response times

Rapidos can measure radon with a relatively high degree of reliability, as the detector’s measurement volume is two to three times greater than that of other brands. The measurement volume is the amount of air contained in the detector’s chamber (where the actual measurement process takes place). A larger volume enables you to measure more alpha particles, which form when radon decays. This in turn provides broader and better data for the actual analysis.

High quality across the board

The ability to perform very precise short-term measurement is also down to the uniquely clean film element that is used during manufacture of the radon detectors. In order to achieve an accurate analysis, it is important that as few tracks as possible are made during the manufacturing and packaging process (i.e. before measurement begins). These tracks are called background tracks. Radonova’s closely monitored manufacturing process is performed in a clean environment with full traceability to keep the number of background tracks to a minimum. In order to avoid exposing the radon detectors to radon during transport, all detectors are also packaged in a vacuum. This makes it easy to see whether a pack is leaking.

Radonova regularly participates in various external comparative tests to guarantee consistently high product quality. Radonova’s radon measurements are also audited annually by a third-party auditor that issues certification in accordance with ISO 17025, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
Radonova’s short-term measurements also surpass other solutions by offering the market’s shortest delivery and analysis times. This is particularly important when selling a house, which often involves time pressure.

Radon in brief

Radon is an invisible gas that comes from the ground and is present in the air we breathe. Radon decays into radon progeny, which are radioactive metal atoms. These get trapped in our airways and emit radiation. In this way, high levels of radon can cause lung cancer.

Elevated radon levels are the biggest carcinogenic health risk you can be exposed to as far as indoor air is concerned. Globally around 230,000 people develop lung cancer every year because of elevated radon levels.

Canadian radon project chooses Radonova for analysis of radon samples

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Swedish Radonova Laboratories has been commissioned to analyse radon samples in the major Canadian campaign “Evict Radon”. This campaign aims to reduce the incidence of radon in Canadian homes and lung cancer as a consequence of long-term exposure to radon gas. This campaign being conducted in the province of Alberta is headed by Dr Aaron Goodarzi at the University of Calgary.

Radon is measured for at least 90 days and analysed at Radonova’s laboratory. The results will form the basis for continued studies on how radon exposure affects the environment and the health of residents. The project involves doctors, biologists, geologists, architects and experts from a number of other fields. It is estimated that in parts of the province of Alberta, one in six homes is affected by radon. And every day one resident is diagnosed with lung cancer caused by radon.

May become a template for similar projects

“We are naturally proud that such a large and important project has chosen Radonova as its partner for analysis of its radon measurements. At the same time, we know that Radonova is the only operator with global ISO certification. We currently occupy a very prominent position when it comes to radon measurement and analysis. In this role we always want to play an active part in the work of reducing unhealthy exposure to radon. The Evict Radon campaign seems particularly important, as it is comprehensive and well planned. This means in turn that after the campaign has ended it can act as a template for similar projects,” says Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

After smoking, radon is the most common cause of lung cancer. This makes radon a serious global health problem that every year leads to around 230,000 cases of lung cancer.

For further information about the Evict Radon campaign, visit Evict radon

For further information about radon and radon measurement, visit our FAQ

evict radon

Radonova joins metroRADON

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Radonova becomes part of Europe’s largest radon project

Radonova Laboratories has joined metroRADON, Europe’s largest project studying radon issues and measuring equipment.

The members of metroRADON are the foremost national operators in Europe and include both companies and various universities and research institutions.

As part of the interest group, Radonova will contribute its long experience of radon measurement with passive devices, i.e. various kinds of sensors and radon detectors.

metroRADON

The interest group and project metroRADON stand for ‘Metrology for radon monitoring’. This radon project is funded by EMPIR (the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research).

“It is natural for Radonova to play an active part in this interest group. The issue of radon is largely addressed from a global perspective. The exchange of experience and research has a major bearing on each country’s ability to reduce the harmful effects of radon on health,” says Radonova Laboratories’ CEO Karl Nilsson.

“Radonova has been to several meetings of metroRADON during the year and now becomes an active and effective member of the consortium. We intend to contribute valuable knowledge in the field of radon monitoring while taking a closer look at the research and experience from other countries,” says Radonova Laboratories’ radon specialist José-Luis Gutiérrez Villanueva.

For more information on the project, visit www.metroradon.eu.

You can read more about Radonova here.

Radon maps don’t show radon levels in a specific building

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‘Radon maps’ is a term that frequently crops up when talking about the risk of radon. A radon map provides a general picture of the areas where there is a risk of high radon levels. These maps are available at both national and regional level. The problem with radon maps is, however, that they are a very blunt tool for anyone wanting to find out about radon levels in a specific building.

Despite this, Radonova is seeing a growing number of cases where private individuals and workplaces are using radon maps to try to determine the radon level in their specific indoor environment.

“Radon maps are designed to be used when you want a more general geographic breakdown of low-risk and high-risk zones. It is, however, very difficult to draw any reliable conclusions from these about radon levels inside a particular building,” comments Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

“The relevant authorities and experts often have good knowledge of the applications for which radon maps can be used. Problems tend to arise when the general public draw conclusions from the maps about radon levels in their own home.”

This is why radon maps do not show radon levels in a specific building

Below are some of the reasons why radon maps are not a reliable tool for determining radon levels in a specific building.

Radon maps do not show local variations

When producing a radon map, very few measurements are performed per square kilometre. Radon levels can vary significantly in such a large area and also markedly between buildings on the same street. Radon levels indoors largely depend on the building’s construction and the air permeability of the soil, which can vary widely locally.

There is no standard for the production of radon maps

To produce a radon map, measurement data is either obtained by measuring ground radon levels or using data from indoor measurements in the area. With ground radon measurement there is no clear link between the level of radon in the ground and indoor radon levels. There is certainly an increased risk with high ground radon levels, but other factors, such as construction technology, can have a greater impact. However, if the radon map is based on indoor measurements, then the results are therefore heavily dependent on the type of building structure where the measurement was recorded. This in turn need not be relevant in any way for another building close by.

Radon can be emitted by building materials

In a country like Sweden the use of blue lightweight concrete is a clear example of how a building material comes into play when measuring radon levels. In Sweden around 15 per cent of all elevated radon values are caused by blue lightweight concrete. A radon map, however, does not take into account the material used in a building.

The maps can be generated from old measured values

Measured radon levels are to some extent ‘perishable’. A measurement taken 15 years ago, for example, is no longer reliable. A lot may have happened over the years in and around the building in question to change radon levels. Modernisations, changes to ventilation and groundwork are just a few examples of factors that can have a major impact on indoor radon levels. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority recommends performing a new measurement every 10 years.

“With this in mind, you shouldn’t rely on radon maps if you want to know what the radon levels are in a specific building. Even if you live in an area that is defined on the radon map as a low-risk zone, there may still be very high radon levels indoors. Given that radon, after smoking, is the most common cause of lung cancer, there is every reason not to rely on this type of map when trying to determine radon levels in the home and at workplaces,” concludes Karl Nilsson.

Measure in the building

The only way to get a reliable picture of radon levels in indoor air is to measure them. This can be done in an affordable manner using radon detectors. Radon maps still have a role to play, however, as they can provide the authorities with an overview that makes it easier to prioritise inspection efforts.

Radon map

COIRA chooses radon detectors from Radonova for major international study

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Radonova Laboratories will be providing radon detectors to a major international study to be run by COIRA (the Coalition of International Radon Associations). The aim of the project is to compare radon measurement results obtained by the world’s leading monitoring institutions in the field of radiation protection. The project started in August 2018 and will run for two years.

“This is a very important project. It will help us towards a more consistent way of working and greater precision in our work on radon measurements. COIRA provides a forum for the collective global expertise on radon. We are pleased to be an active part of this forum in terms of both measuring equipment and knowledge,” says Karl Nilsson, a member of the board of COIRA and CEO of Radonova Laboratories.
coira

Radonova’s radon specialist José-Luis Gutiérrez Villanueva is a member of the project committee. He is there as an expert and representative of ERA (the European Radon Association), one of the project’s scientific coordinators (COIRA). Gutiérrez Villanueva is also involved in the work of analysing the data collected.

“Such a comprehensive comparative study means that we can expect to have access to reference tools within a few years.  This will make radon monitoring safer and more effective,” he explains.

COIRA was formed in 2015 and has five member associations: ERA (the European Radon Association), AARST (the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists), CARST (the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists), UKRA (the UK Radon Association) and NGRA (the Nordic Group of Radon Associations).

For more information on the project, visit www.coiraradon.com.

You can read more about Radonova here.

Finland ahead of the rest of Europe

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-Radon measurement in the workplace is commonplace 

It’s not just in school education that Finland is ahead of the rest of Europe. When it comes to measuring radon in workplaces, they are a step ahead there too. Measuring radon in Finnish workplaces has been commonplace for a number of years for Radonova’s partner Suomen radonhallinta.  

Even before the new Radiation Protection Act was introduced on 1 June this year, the Swedish Work Environment Authority imposed the requirement that the hygienic limit value for radon (0.36 MBqh/m3) must not be exceeded in Swedish workplaces. And yet there were only around 3,000 instances of workplace measurement in Sweden during 2017, compared with around 70,000 instances of measurement in homes. In the rest of Europe also there is less workplace measurement compared with measurement in homes.

“It is hard to say exactly how much workplace measurement we have performed, but it is well into the thousands. Then of course there are several other operators also measuring radon in workplaces. In Finland there are around 60 high-risk areas where employers are obliged to measure radon in the workplace. Considering that radon is reckoned to cause lung cancer in 300 to 400 Finns every year, there is of course every reason to comply with the existing regulations,” comments Jarkko Ruokonen at Suomen radonhallinta.

Common cause of lung cancer

“Although we are seeing increased demand for workplace measurement this year, it is clear that a lot of workplaces will not manage to comply with the new legal requirements. Here it seems as if Finland has been quick to take the radon issue seriously. Just as in the rest of Europe, radon is, after smoking, the single biggest cause of lung cancer in the population. If we are to bring the figures down, greater efforts are required, as is cooperation between employers, public authorities and private operators,” comments Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

“If you haven’t already taken radon measurements at your workplace then it is high time you did so. Quite apart from the fact that as an employer you are risking exposing your employees to a serious health hazard, there can be serious repercussions for employers who do not comply with the law. Here I absolutely think that the rest of Europe should be aiming to take the radon issue at least as seriously as Finland does,” concludes Karl Nilsson.

finland

Jarkko Ruokonen at Suomen radonhallinta measures radon at a workplace in Finland. “Our cooperation with Radonova is going really well. They have a modern lab that is certified in accordance with ISO17025, reliable products and excellent customer service.”

House – Why does radon exist in homes and where does radon come from?

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When you own a house or intend to buy a house, you often hear talk about radon values and the fact that you need to check them for health reasons. But where does radon come from?

Radon is a gas that occurs naturally in soil and in bedrock. It is a so-called “inert” gas and is an element with the chemical symbol Rn and atomic number 86 in the periodic table. The property that makes radon damaging to health is the fact that it is a radioactive substance. Radioactivity means that radon emits radiation, so-called “ionising” radiation which affects biological systems. The element radon is part of the decay chain, which includes the elements uranium and radium (which are also radioactive).
Ionising radiation can damage cells and cause cell death and can destroy DNA molecules in the body. Which can lead to mutations and therefore to cancer. Lung cancer in particular is a form of cancer that can be caused by radon radiation.

Where does radon in a house come from?

Radon originally comes from uranium and radium, which occur naturally in bedrock. If a building is constructed on such land, and particularly if the building also has a basement, there can be a problem with radon. The parts of the building that come into contact with the ground can let in radon from the surroundings if they are not sealed.

Investigation and measurement

It is easy to measure and investigate radon in a home. A radon laboratory will help by sending out measurement boxes for radon. You simply hang these from the ceiling in the rooms you want to measure radon in. The measurement must go on for a few months. Then the radon boxes are sent in to the laboratory for analysis and you get a radon value for each room. The limit value for radon is currently 300 Bq/m3 in dwellings. If it is higher than that, you should carry out some form of radon degasification.

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Radonova makes first delivery of radon detectors to Africa

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Radonova’s first project on the African continent.

Swedish Radonova Laboratories has received an order from the IAEA for radon detectors to monitor radon in Cameroon.

The contract is not only for the delivery of detectors, but also for the analysis of radon samples.

As a result, Radonova is delivering materials and services for use on the African continent for the first time.

Radonova

“This order shows that radon is a global health problem. There’s a growing awareness of this issue in countries that haven’t paid that much attention to this in the past. The IAEA may not be a government authority, but it still has great influence and stringent demands when it comes to quality, reliability and support. We also know that we won this contract in competition with several other players and the IAEA chose us as the best option,” says Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

“Only a few months ago we signed our first co-operation agreement in Asia. Naturally, it’s a pleasure to continue our international expansion into another continent. Regardless of the environment being tested, radon monitoring and analysis must always be carried out safely and reliably,” Nilsson concludes.

For further information on radon and radon monitoring, visit www.radonovalaboratories.com
IAEA stands for the International Atomic Energy Agency. For further information, visit www.iaea.org

Important to measure radon regardless of where you live

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Internationally, there are radon maps that show which areas are more exposed to radon and which are less exposed. Consequently, many people do not measure radon because they think they live in a radon-free area, but that is wrong. Almost all countries are exposed to radon and considerable local differences can exist within the residential areas. That is confirmed by studies carried out by Radonova in which the results from the same residential area were examined. That is why it is always important to measure radon and not rely on radon maps.

Why are there such large local differences in radon content?

It is due to variations in radon in the ground and how buildings are constructed, what maintenance they have had and what 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 is formed from these elements and is transported through the soil layer with the aid of air and ground water. 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.

Important – 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 can be considerable local variations in the radon content in residential areas. It is therefore always important to measure the radon content in indoor air, regardless of where you live and how you live – in a house or in an apartment building.

important

Radonova uses date-marking for even safer measurement

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date-marking

Radonova Laboratories introduces date-marking for the detectors used in radon monitoring. Together with the recently launched vacuum packaging, the date-mark ensures that the monitoring and analysis work can be carried out with the utmost reliability.

Tryggve Rönnqvist, technical manager at Radonova Laboratories, describes the benefits of date-marking the detectors:

“By date-marking each individual pack, we further increase the measurement certainty of short-term monitoring. If radon monitoring is carried out over seven to ten days after the detector has been stored for a year, this could have some effect on the result. Quite simply, it’s more difficult to measure lower concentrations reliably if the monitoring period is short and the storage time is long. Even though we’re talking about small deviations, we always strive to give our customers the most accurate monitoring results possible.”

Easier for stockists and customers with their own stock of detectors

“Above all, data-marketing makes life easier for international stockists and customers who have their own stock of radon detectors. Now they can quickly see how old the detectors are and optimise their warehouse logistics accordingly. Real estate agents are another good example of businesses that benefit from clear date-marking. Monitoring is often fast and frequent in this segment and many agents, therefore, often have their own supply of detectors. With date-marking, we’ve made it easier to use the detectors in the right order.

“Although our monitoring is already at the very forefront of reliability, clear data-marking of each detector and the newly introduced vacuum packaging helps us to offer even simpler, more reliable radon monitoring.

Radonova Laboratories is introducing date-marking on its detectors in November 2018. The newly launched vacuum packaging provides a maximum storage time of eight months. Both for short-term monitoring and three years for long-term monitoring. Radonova also recommends beginning long-term monitoring within 18 months because the measurement uncertainty decreases the sooner monitoring begins.

For further information about radon and radon monitoring, contact us here

Benjamin Portin sees opportunities at Radonova

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Settling into a new job isn’t always easy. Benjamin Portin, however, has quickly become a part of Radonova Laboratories. After starting as a temporary worker at Radonova, Benjamin now works full-time in the company’s production and analysis department.

“Naturally, it helps that, in my case, I worked at Radonova while I was studying. But I get the feeling that this is a workplace where you quickly become one of the team. It’s also a place where you have great freedom with responsibility. There’s very little micromanaging here, instead, everyone knows what needs to be done without needing instructions for each work stage,” says Benjamin.

Growth and strict demands have to be matched

As a world leader on a market with strict demands in all stages, the continued success is based on the company and employees being in sync. Promoting a corporate culture characterised by dedication and a willingness to learn is a key component. Another is that all employees see opportunities to develop.

“It’s nice to work at a company where you know that several of the managers started on the shop floor, like me. Anyone who is both driven and willing to learn has every opportunity to develop. This is a company and market that offers very exciting career opportunities,” continues Benjamin.

“Radonova is currently growing in several markets. At the same time, we’ve positioned ourselves as a company with very high quality, and the fastest delivery and analysis times on the market. In turn, this places strict demands on each individual employee. Everyone has an important role to play and we’re mutually dependent. Clearly this is a team effort,” comments Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

The work itself is important

It’s estimated that more than 200,000 people a year die as a result of radon-related lung cancer. More and more countries are beginning to understand the importance of working to reduce exposure to radon.

“People’s knowledge of radon in general is still quite basic. At the same time, it’s clear that many people are surprised that understanding what the situation is where you live or work doesn’t have to be difficult. In many cases, remedying an elevated radon level doesn’t have to be particularly complicated either. Obviously, it’s more enjoyable to go to work knowing that what we do helps to influence human health for the better,” Benjamin concludes.

Benjamin studied the nature programme at upper secondary school. Today he works with production and the analysis of radon samples.

Radonova

“It’s time the new Radiation Protection Act for workplaces is taken seriously”

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Sweden’s new Radiation Protection Act came into force on 1 June 2018. Now the country’s employers have to be aware of the radon levels in our workplaces. Employers also have to take action that may reasonably be required to tackle radon levels over the hygienic limit value of 200 Bq/m³.

What are your impressions since the law came in?

Unfortunately, knowledge of radon is generally low. I’d also say that a great many of Sweden’s employers are unaware of what the new law means. Essentially, it’s about a health issue and about employees not being exposed to radon levels above the hygienic limit value. After almost half a year, you might think it’s time to take the law seriously.

Another observation is that when companies contact us and we describe how radon is monitored, the response is often, “That’s simple, we should have done this earlier.”

Monitoring radon properly from the offset gives both the employer and employees the peace of mind of knowing what the radon levels are at work. If you carry out proper monitoring and it turns out that the limit value is being

How do we monitor radon in workplaces and what should we be considering?

Basically, it’s easy to monitor radon. You order radon detectors, deploy them, record data, collect the detectors and send them to the radon laboratory, which will return a report by e-mail or online. However, there are several aspects to consider, such as how many radon detectors are needed for reliable monitoring? Another question is how can the work be done as efficiently as possible? The biggest cost of radon monitoring is the time it takes to deploy the detectors, record the data and then retrieve them again. This is vital for ensuring efficiency and safety in all stages of the process.

Real estate companies that carry out monitoring in, say, shopping malls, are one example of an efficient approach. It’s an added value for the tenants if radon monitoring takes place in each store without the tenants having to carry out their own monitoring. If the real estate company carries out the monitoring with, say Radonova, they have full control and avoid a situation arising later on where individual premises have elevated radon levels.

How many radon detectors are needed to monitor radon in the workplace?

For radon monitoring in the workplace, we recommend following the guidelines from IRMA (the International Radon Measurement Association). You will then meet your national requirements as well. The advantage of IRMA’s guidelines is that their recommended measurement procedure helps to save time.

Are there any common misconceptions about monitoring in the workplace?

One common misconception is that it’s sufficient to carry out monitoring in one in every five rooms or use one detector per 500 m³ in large premises. The information can be found in the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority’s method description, but it also says that monitoring should be carried out where there are suspected high radon levels, and in rooms that have or are adjacent to pipework, which can increase the risk of high radon levels. In principle, this means that monitoring should take place in all rooms where employees spend more than four hours a week.

Radonova is a World leader in radon monitoring. Describe why you´ll be a leader in this market, too…

We offer safe, accredited monitoring methods and our products can be used in public environments. We also offer the fastest delivery and shortest analysis times on the market. Radonova has invested heavily in user-friendliness where companies that carry out radon monitoring simply record data about deployment and the monitoring dates. The results of the analysis are also easily accessible via our web application. All of the stages of our process are efficient and safe, and the work and time taken to carry out monitoring are minimized.

Read more about radon and radon monitoring here»
https://radonovalaboratories.com/

For further information on radon monitoring in the workplace, please contact Johan Olsson, phone: +46 (0)18-56 88 00, e-mail: johan.olsson@radonova.com

workplaces

Johan Olsson of Radonova Laboratories is a specialist in workplace monitoring. He describes his view of efforts to monitor radon in the workplace.

How do you measure radon?

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Radon is a so-called “inert” gas that is also radioactive. In other words it emits ionising radiation. If people suffer excessive exposure to this radiation in their workplace or at home, it can lead to cell damage and therefore to cancer. It is estimated that up to 14% of all cases of lung cancer in the world are caused by radon. measurements are crucial.

Radon comes from the ground

Radon occurs naturally in the ground since it comes from uranium that decays. Buildings that have basements and that are otherwise in direct contact with the ground are most affected by radon.

Radon is measured using boxes

Radon is normally measured using what are referred to as “radon boxes”. These are small boxes that you place around the home or in the workplace for a certain period of time. This is to see the specific radon value in the specific rooms where the measurement is being carried out.

This means that it is best to place radon boxes in rooms where you spend a lot of time such as bedrooms and living rooms. In rooms in which you or people around you spend the most time, it may be worth placing two boxes in different parts of the room to obtain the most accurate measurement possible.

Quick measurement or long-term measurements

There are two different types of boxes that you can use for radon measurement. The first of these is the box that carries out long-term measurement that most people are familiar with. A so-called “long-term measurement” enables you to obtain an average annual value for radon levels in indoor air. It is only possible to carry out long-term measurements of radon during the winter months. This is because people do not ventilate as frequently as in summer, which concentrates the radon and, in turn, provides an optimum measurement. Long-term measurements take approximately two to three months and all you need to do is position the boxes. Then leave them there for the full period before sending them back.

For people who do not have the time required to carry out long-term measurements, there are also boxes that provide a quick measurement. These do not show the average amount of radon in a year, but can provide a quick indication of the property’s approximate exposure to radon. They are suitable for people who want to buy a house or another property. Quick measurements take up to 10 twenty-four hour periods and can be carried out at any time of year.

After the measurement

When the period of time for the selected boxes has ended, you simply send in the boxes. You then receive a full report on the results. This usually takes only one week to send out.

measurements

Ecotrak® – radon measurement in soil

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Radonova launches a new product for safe radon monitoring in soil

Radonova Laboratories is launching a new detector that makes it safer and easier to monitor radon in soil. The new Ecotrak® detector can be used ahead of new builds and property modernisations and provides quick, reliable information on the amount of radon in the soil being tested.

Unlike other commonly used soil detectors, Ecotrak® is covered by international comparative tests. The detector is supplied in a Tyvek bag, which protects against moisture, dirt and other factors that could affect the result.

Ecotrak®

Ecotrak® does not have to be returned for immediate analysis, rather it can be collected and stored at stockists for a short period. This enables more streamlined handling and means that detectors from several different monitoring periods can be sent for analysis at the same time.

“Monitoring radon in soil is relatively simple. The challenge is to monitor it in such a way as to provide a reliable result. In part, this means that the product itself has to be high quality. Also able to withstand the stresses that are part and parcel of monitoring in soil. However, it also means using an accredited laboratory that takes part in international tests. This enables us to carry out fact-based comparisons with large amounts of reference data,” says Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

“By launching the new detector, we’re making it simpler and safer than ever to monitor radon in soil. No matter what type of construction is involved, there’s great value in understanding the radon situation. What’s more, in some cases the local building committee requires a study into radon levels before granting building permits. Should monitoring show that the site is what’s termed ‘high risk’, the construction can be made radon-proof from the beginning,” says Oskar Boström, product manager at Radonova Laboratories.

Ground radon in brief

Uranium and radium are the two elements that contribute to the levels of radon gas found in soil. Levels of radon gas can vary widely depending on the type of soil. As a general rule, the airier the soil composition, the higher the level of radon. Conversely, a more compact composition makes it more difficult for the radon to circulate in the soil.

Ecotrak® in brief

  • Covered by stringent international comparative studies
  • Not sensitive to moisture (large amounts of water do, however, affect the results)
  • Supplied in a protective Tyvek bag
  • Can be collected and stored for a short period (for efficient handling of multiple measurements)
  • Monitoring usually takes place over one to seven days
  • Can be used all year round (provided the soil is free of frost)

The recommendation is to use at least three detectors for the first 100 m² of the site where the property or construction will stand. After that it’s a good idea to have at least one extra detector per extra 50 m².

For further information about the new Ecotrak® detector, contact Radonova here

Radon measurement season in full swing

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Radonova’s new web application has a completely new and intuitive user interface and gives users secure access to reports, measurement jobs and other data, all updated in real time.

On 1 October the radon measurement season got under way in Sweden. You can actually measure radon all year round, but if you want an annual average for radon levels in your home or workplace, you have to measure them over the course of at least two months during the winter when heating systems are on. In Sweden this is between 1 October and 30 April. In practice, this means you have to start measuring radon levels by the end of February.  

We met up with Oscar Wännerud, who is in charge of the world’s leading radon laboratory. Here Oscar describes the measuring and analysis work carried out during peak season, and talks about how Radonova handles tens of thousands of detectors a month.

In brief, how would you describe your daily work in the lab during peak season?

We are now at the start of the season, so we are working on large volumes of deliveries.

Our automated production of radon detectors has been ramped up, running at top speed, from six in the morning until midnight. This is needed so that over the autumn we can supply 80,000 detectors a month.

In December, the detectors start to come back in, as at that point many customers will have been able to measure over two months. At that time we are still sending out large volumes of detectors. In the spring there are fewer deliveries to be made, as the measurement season is drawing to a close. At that stage the work switches to processing and analysing large volumes of radon measurements. International customers often measure all year round, resulting in a more even flow for these customers. This also means that we run all processes all year round but with varying volumes.

Are all analyses conducted at Radonova’s laboratory in Uppsala?

All radon detectors are manufactured in Uppsala and then distributed across the world. The same applies when customers have completed their measurements. The detectors are sent back to the lab in Uppsala for etching, reading and analysis. This requires reliable, effective and well-functioning procedures and processes for both outgoing deliveries and incoming deliveries of exposed detectors. We need a rational and tightly controlled approach to be able to handle the large volumes we deal with.

Have any new issues or challenges arisen this season?

The work has so far been characterised by increased volumes and rapid delivery times. We are selling more measurement services than ever, yet we have still managed to further reduce delivery times. All so we can give our customers the best possible service.

What do you feel is the recipe for success when it comes to reliability and assurance?

Accreditation is an important base for a monitoring laboratory. We really benefit from being audited by external bodies. Well-established procedures in combination with ongoing improvement work are required for us to be able to remain at the forefront within radon measurement. We are also involved in various international comparative tests in order to ensure that our processes maintain a very high level.

Have you got any general tips for companies or private individuals who are intending to measure radon?

It is simple to measure radon using Radonova’s services. Via “My Pages” you get full control of your data and can easily export it when needed to either PDF reports or Excel files for further processing/statistical purposes. When our customers use My Pages to record data, we get immediate access to the measurement data. This in turn produces quicker analytical results. Another upside to using My Pages is that it minimises the sources of errors, which can easily arise when work is performed on paper and is characterised by multiple manual steps. Via My Pages customers can easily supplement data and get rapid responses.

How do you think things are going to develop in radon measurement?

Automation and digitalisation are the two biggest future trends. The combination of automated processes and customers having increased access through digitalisation will be a crucial success factor. We expect to minimise lead times for outward delivery, but above all we will be reducing the time it takes to perform analyses. I am also convinced that Radonova is ideally positioned to continue as a global leader in the measurement and analysis of radon samples.

 

For further information about radon and radon measurement, visit FAQ

Why is radon dangerous?

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You often carry out a radon measurement when buying houses and properties. But what is radon and why do you need to measure it and why is it dangerous?

Radon is dangerous

Radon is an element with atomic number 86 and the chemical symbol of Rn. It is a so-called “inert” gas, which means that it exists in a gaseous state at room temperature and that the element radon does not readily react with other substances. However, radon gas is radioactive and decays by itself. When the radon decays, it emits ionising radiation containing dangerous alpha particles.

Ionising radiation

Ionisation means that electrons are removed from a nucleus by means of radiation, for example. The atoms, which were previously in equilibrium, then become charged ions which are able to react with other atoms or ions. Such reactions can damage and/or alter a DNA molecule and cause mutations or cancer or can kill cells. For that reason, ionising radiation, and therefore radon, is dangerous to humans.

Why are you exposed to radon in a building?

In its normal form, as stated above, radon exists as a gas. Isn’t it just a matter of airing the building to let the radon out? Yes, in a way it is. Some types of radon problem are solved just through ventilation. But, unfortunately, the gas fills up constantly if a building is constructed on ground that causes radon gas to form.

Radon derives from a “decay chain”, i.e. other radioactive substances decay and form new substances. Uranium and radium, two radioactive elements that exist in certain types of bedrock, are present earlier in this chain. In areas with high uranium levels or radium-rich ground, the risk of so-called “soil radon” will be higher. Radon is particularly common in buildings with basements because the walls are more exposed to the surrounding ground.

Long-term effects and radiation doses

Elevated radon levels in a building can cause an increased risk of cancer and particularly of lung cancer. When you live and spend a lot of time in the building, radon can gradually cause harm. However, the risk is very small for non-smokers. Nowadays, it is recommended that the radon level should be no higher than 300 Bq/m3 in rooms in which you spend a lot of time (WHO is recommending no more than 100 Bq/m3). If the value is higher, you should take action to deal with the radon problem, for example through ventilation or sealing against incoming soil radon.

Vintage Illuminated Watches, Clocks and Dials Emitting Radon

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In the beginning of the 20th century, scientists developed a way to mix “radium 226” with paint. This created ‘radioluminescent paint’. This breakthrough led to the new product being applied to clocks and telephones. Even airplane instrumentation panels (all now considered to be vintage), enabling the devices to glow in the dark.

However the new approach led to unforeseen circumstances. By 1925 a group of radium painters, later referred to as the Radium Girls, sued their employer over health issues. This was believed to be stemming from the ingestion of radium through a practice called ‘pointing’ their brushes. They would lick the ends of the brushes to refine the bristles into a point. Subsequently ingesting radium remnants from the brush. As a result, by 1930 ‘pointing’ brushes was no longer done by mouth and there were no more incidences of malignancy due to radium. This led most people to believe that radium was not a health risk provided you did not consume it.

Sixty years later researchers from the University of Northampton wondered whether since radium decays into radon gas, “vintage” clocks, watches, phones and such items, previously coated in radium paint could influence radon gas levels as the radium naturally decays.

The study was performed in a small bedroom and consisted of measuring the radon gas level for a baseline. Then adding 30 radium dial watches to the room to see how much the radon level would change, if at all. Upon retesting it was discovered that the room’s radon level rose to 134 times the level at which the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) recommends action.

The data from this first study of its kind indicates a previously unconsidered risk. This was from owning, collecting, and storing radium dial watches or other items coated in radium-infused paint.

So keep calm, and think before you go vintage.

Read the Original Article Here
vintage

Acquisition of Gammadata provides Radonova with a Complete Program for Radon Measurement

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By acquiring the radon measurement instrument division of Gammadata Instruments, Radonova Laboratories has further strengthened its position as a world leader in home and workplace radon measurement. Through the acquisition, Radonova has added several advanced instruments and products to its portfolio. Broadening its range of radon measurement technologies.

By offering a comprehensive program for radon measurement, Radonova is responding to the global demand for safe and efficient radon measurements in homes and workplaces.

“With this acquisition, we get access to leading edge products which are at the absolute forefront of research and development. For example, ATMOS, the world’s most sensitive radon sniffer. We now have an expanded portfolio of instruments and products. We are in a position where we can offer new and existing customers an optimal radon measurement program. Particularly in the rapidly growing European market of workplace radon measurement,” says Radonova Laboratories CEO Karl Nilsson. One of Gammadata’s founders, Dag Sedin, has 30 years of experience in instrument development for radiation measurement. He will take on the role of consultant at Radonova Laboratories. Dag comments on the acquisition:

“As we are now part of Radonova Laboratories, there is enormous potential for intensifying our research to ensure that we continue to deliver the most innovative radon instruments and sensors available on the market. Radonova provides us with a great platform to further develop the new product lines we have in the pipeline. The first of these will be an update to the ATMOS radon sniffer. In addition, Radonova has an established export network that will provide numerous new opportunities for growth when new products are released.”

For more information on radon and radon measurement visit www.radonovalaboratories.com

For more information, please contact Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories AB Phone: +46 (0)70-639 01 31, E-mail: karl.nilsson@radonova.com

Acquisition

The world’s most sensitive radon sniffer ATMOS is now becoming part of Radonova’s extensive program for radon measurements.

Radon Entry Points – Basement

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Below Grade Windows
Sump Pump
Cracks in Foundation Walls
Footing
Cracks in Concrete Slab
Floor Drains
Support Posts

Many homes have basement areas. Whether finished or not there is always a potential for radon to enter your home through the basement. Not all homes will have every radon entry point shown, but the image shows the most common ones. Any one of these entry points could contribute to a high radon gas level in the home.

Testing for radon is the only  way to know if your home has high levels of dangerous radon gas, a class A carcinogen that causes lung cancer.

Test Your Home Today!

Radon can be a health risk in ordinary workplaces

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Workplace radon is a so-called “inert” gas that emits ionising radiation, which means that radon is radioactive. Therefore it is also a potent risk. Ionising radiation can cause damage to cells, which in turn leads to illnesses such as cancer. Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer that can be caused by radon.
Radon gas is an element that can come directly from the ground because radon is created when uranium decays. It therefore exists naturally, which can affect properties that have basements with poor insulation. Or that are otherwise in direct contact with the ground.

How do you know if radon is a health risk in the workplace?

It is easy to measure radon levels in the workplace to see whether the value exceeds the limit above which radon is estimated to be a health risk. If the radon level is above 400 Bq/m³, it could mean that spending too much time in the property entails a direct health risk.

Measuring radon levels is simple and straightforward using radon boxes placed in rooms in which people spend the most time. In the case of homes, they are normally placed in bedrooms and living rooms. In the case of a workplace, it is a question of finding similar places in which people spend a lot of time.

There are two different kinds of radon boxes available: those offering long-term measurement or those offering short-term measurement. Long-term measurement must be carried out during the winter months and needs to last for two to three months to provide the most complete results possible for radon levels in the property. A so-called “annual average value” for the radon levels can be obtained from long-term measurement. There are also boxes that are used to carry out short-term measurements. A measurement with these boxes only takes around 10 twenty-four hour periods. Short-term boxes can be used at any time of year. Nevertheless, the results they give are not as accurate as long-term measurements.

What do you do about high radon levels?

There are a couple of different ways of dealing with high radon levels. One of the most common ways is to simply increase the ventilation to reduce the concentration of radon in the air.

risk

Radonova’s radon measurements get top marks from Europe’s leading radiation protection body

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Radonova Laboratories has achieved excellent results in reference tests.

The reference tests was finally conducted by the German Federal Office For Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz – BfS). Comparative tests of four different radon samples show us that Radonova’s results in all cases differ. This with less than ten percent from the respective reference value.

The BfS is Europe’s leading player in the calibration of radon measurement equipment. One of the few accredited to calibrate based on ISO 17025 standard.

All radon doses are exposed to different levels of radon in this current reference tests. Then after that they are compared with the official reference values that are specified by BfS.

“Radonova has consequently been participating in comparative tests of this kind for many years, and we achieve consistently good results. The latest test results are also a confirmation that we are right at the forefront when it comes to reliable radon measurements”. Says the CEO of Radonova Laboratories, Karl Nilsson.

reference tests

“The comparative tests by the Bfs are probably the most demanding anywhere. They certainly set extremely high standards at all stages. It feels good to have our capacity confirmed by an actor like BfS. It is important that our customers should always associate Radonova with the highest quality and reliability”. Ads Radonova Laboratories’ radon specialist José-Luis Gutiérrez Villanueva.

For more information, contact Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories AB.

Read more about radon and radon measurements here.

Radon Workshop – Radonova’s measurement expert attends IAEA meeting

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Radon issues call for international coordination

As part of the work of improving coordination and contributing to more uniform processes for analysing and measuring radon, the IAEA recently organised a radon workshop in Sarajevo. José-Luis Gutiérrez Villanueva from the Swedish company Radonova was present as a specialist in radon measurement. We put some questions to José-Luis, who is one of Europe’s leading experts in this field.

Why is a radon workshop of this kind significant?

Its an important forum, this meetings. We can study all findings from different countries and can share them with others. It is also an important meeting-place for those countries that are not members of the EU and hence covered by EURATOM BSS but are in the IAEA and covered by IAEA BSS. In that sense, the IAEA radon workshop gives us a broad and effective platform for exchanging knowledge.

In what way is it important to have an international perspective on the question of radon?

By looking at this from a global perspective, we can see the differences in the way various countries handle the problem of radon. Although there are international guidelines and regulations.  There are big differences in the work done and the radon programmes in different countries. A radon workshop meeting of this kind helps us to exchange knowledge. Also to reach a common understanding of how best to approach the work. In this case, we were particularly interested in how databases and analyses of statistics from different studies can be used.

What would you say is the biggest challenge if we look at radon as a global problem?

One of the major challenges is how to communicate around issues concerning radon in general and the risks in particular. The differences in priorities and judgment of risk areas are one example. Different countries can arrive at different risk assessments and classifications even though the geological conditions are basically the same.

radon workshop

José-Luis Gutiérrez Villanueva has worked on radon issues and radon workshops for the last 15 years. He wrote his PhD on ‘Radon exposure in dwellings of lung cancer patients: case-control study’ (University of Cantabria, 2016), and is an expert in data analysis and different ways of measuring radon. As secretary of the European Radon Association, José-Luis also has extensive experience of international work with radon .

IAEA is short for the International Atomic Energy Agency. BSS stands for Basic Safety Standards.

The title of the event held in Sarajevo from 12-14 June 2018 was ‘Regional Workshop: on database and statistical analyses, harmonisation of protocols and procedures for the measurement of radon’.

Global study confirms the harmful effects of radon

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Global study confirms the harmful effects of radon

A study based on data from 66 countries and presented in Environmental Health Studies (EHP) confirms that there is a clear link between exposure to radon and the risk of lung cancer. Updated data from 2012 show that around 226,000 people died that year from radon-related lung cancer. That means that about three per cent of all those who die from some form of cancer do so because of radon.

“After smoking, radon is therefore the commonest cause of lung cancer. It makes radon a serious global health problem that we must combat with knowledge and modern technology. This says Karl Nilsson, CEO. for Radonova Laboratories.

“We can now detect and deal with many of the harmful levels of radon. But most importantly we need many countries to take the issue of radon more seriously. Sweden and the US are relatively far ahead in combating radon exposure. However, other parts of the world have not begun to take the necessary steps to reduce the health risks and fatalities,” says Karl Nilsson.

The study is presented in issue no 5 (2018) of EHP and can be accessed here » ehp.niehs.nih.gov/EHP2503

Radonova launches new web application

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Radonova launches new web application

Information in real time and a completely new interface

Radonova Laboratories is launching a new version of its web application for customers and partners – RadOnline. The new web application has a completely new and intuitive user interface. It gives users secure access to reports, measurement jobs and other data, all updated in real time.

The launch of the new application is intended to make it even easier to use Radonova’s services in the field of radon measurement and analysis of radon samples. The new version of RadOnline makes both clear and detailed information available securely. Whether the user logs in from a PC, smartphone or other mobile device. The web application now also has simpler navigation, efficient search, filter and export functions.

Radonova launches new web application - Radonline

“By linking ‘My pages’ to Radonova’s database, we give customers the simplest and quickest possible access to the information they need. We have also developed the latest version to be a useful aid in both large and small measurement projects. It is also important to provide a positive customer experience at all stages.

With the new RadOnline, we aim to combine reliable radon measurements and top quality with even better service to our customers,” says the CEO of Radonova Laboratories, Karl Nilsson.

The new web application in brief:

  • Better overview and facility to enter measurement data and download results.
  • Filter measurements on e.g. address, property name, order code etc.
  • Download consolidated reports in PDF format
  • Flexible design adapts to the device used

History, information and current measurement jobs are unchanged. And also accessible to Radonova’s customers and partners via the new web application. For further information on the new web application, e-mail Radonova’s sales department on kundservice@radonova.se.

Buildings and radon

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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© 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

Protocols for radon testing

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Last week, our specialist radon measurement advisor made a presentation at the UKRA symposium reviewing the existing protocols for radon testing. The main conclusions are: there is a new scenario after the implementation of EURATOM BSS 59/2013 Directive in Europe; most member states have adopted or will adopt a reference level of 300 Bq m-3;  the following EU countries have a protocol to describe how to measure radon (WP’s): Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, UK, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden. Norway and Switzerland have similar protocols too. In addition to that, there is a new industrial guideline to measure radon at work places (IRMA 0791-30). A video of this presentation will be available soon at the UKRA website.

UKRA symposium 2018

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This week Radonova Laboratories AB has been a gold sponsor at UKRA symposium. The meeting has been organised by UK Radon association in the city of Bath, UK. More than 60 participants have attended 9 presentations and 6 case study talks. Tony Colgan, from IAEA, made the keynote presentation and the meeting has had speakers from Canada, Ireland, Sweden, UK and USA. In addition, 9 exhibitors have shown their products. Congratulations to UKRA for this fantastic event.

Accredited and validated laboratories for radon measurements

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The new Directive EURATOM BSS 2013/59 is being implemented on the EU member states. Therefore, the need for having radon measurements services that provide trustable results is a must. Some EU member states have published lists to include these services. Radonova Laboratories AB belongs to those lists. Two examples to keep in mind: PHE has a validation scheme for laboratories and recently, the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) has published its own list. On this list, Radonova has added its resellers in Spain too.

Is an accredited radon measurement service really necessary?

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The challenge of making correct radon measurements

Testing laboratories aim to accomplish high standards in terms of laboratory practice, accuracy of their results and participation in inter-comparison exercises. To achieve that they formerly followed their own internal procedures and designed their own measurement protocols. Given that scenario, how reliable are test results? How can we compare the results obtained by two different laboratories using different testing protocols? The question becomes more relevant when we need to fulfil national legislation and provide results that would be accepted as legal evidence in a court of law.

Possible solutions

The best way to provide reliable test values and comparable results among laboratories might be to measure the same sample parameters following the same methods. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. One can perform a test and provide results for the same sample parameter using different approaches. ISO means International Standards Organization. The list of existing standards is very large, and they are applicable to almost any possible measurement. Not only testing, but also calibration has to be made according to common practices. Therefore, the only possible solution is to comply with ISO/IEC 17025 (revised in 2017).

The name of the game – Accreditation according to ISO/IEC 17025

ISO/IEC 17025 contains general requirements to assess the proper competence of testing and calibrating laboratories. It is a full quality system that can be applied to any testing/calibration activity and is particularly relevant to the measurement of radon levels. Accreditation means that the laboratory has met the Management Requirements and Technical Requirements of ISO/IEC 17025  and is deemed technically competent to produce calibration and testing results. This means that we can always verify that our measurements are correct, both accurate and reproducible. This standard is valid for any organization performing testing activities and applies equally to very small laboratories right up to large corporations.

The future

Due to the recent EURATOM BSS Directive, it is necessary to establish a reference level of radon gas concentration in each EU member state. The Directive mandates member states to monitor radon levels in dwellings, work places and public areas. A detailed list of actions is included in the Directive and all member states must set up a national radon action plan. Hence the need to have credible results is essential and the consequences of bad practice may imply serious deviations from the level of accomplishment required by the Directive. Currently, most national authorities demand measurement protocols from the testing service being used and a quality system in place. The accreditation awarded under ISO/IEC 17025 meets this demand ensuring confidence in the accuracy and precision of measurements. It comes with an implicit guarantee that a quality system is in place with systematic procedures supporting each reported value.

The Castleisland Radon Survey

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EPA radon-Ireland (former Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland) has a long tradition of radon research. The radon program in Ireland is a good example of increasing awareness among general public and good practices. Radon maps are becoming more and more popular. However, we should not forget that the best way to investigate radon concentrations at homes is by means of a radon measurement. The Castleisland radon survey is an example of homes with very elevated radon levels located in a low-risk area in the county of Kerry. In July 2003, “a house located in the vicinity of Castleisland was identified with an average radon concentration seasonally adjusted of 49,000 Bq/m3 (highest level ever measured in a house in the country)”

Other forms of cancer due to radon

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We use to say that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. There is enough scientific evidence to prove this. However, other forms of cancer may be due to radon too. Dr. Leslie Sutherland from Health Sciences North Research Institute in Canada is leading a project funded by NEO kids foundation to look into “how the exposure of radon is altering human cells of the lung, at the molecular level”. Leukaemia is the most common cause of cancer among children and radon has been associated with certain types of leukaemia. You can find more information about this in a recent article published at The Sudsburystar.

UKRA symposium – Bath (UK)

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© Anthony Brown - stock.adobe.com

© Anthony Brown – stock.adobe.com

Radonova will be gold sponsor at the upcoming UKRA symposium that will be held in Bath, UK. The symposium will start in the evening on 14th March with a networking activity. On 15th March, different speakers from around the world will present contributions that will include the UK National Radon Action Plan. Jose – Luis Gutierrez Villanueva from Radonova will make the presentation entitled “protocols for radon testing”. His presentation will deal with existing measurement protocols to determine radon concentration in dwellings and workplaces. He will make a summary of the official guidelines in Europe and present some common points. Come to Bath and join us on the second edition of this UKRA event!

Duotrak® NRPP (National Radon Proficiency Program – ANSI-AARST) Device Approval

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Radonova is proud to announce that our product Duotrak® has been officially listed with NRPP as standard measurement device for the use in  the United States and Canada. NRPP is the National Radon Proficiency Program. Products listed with NRPP ensure that they follow the standard protocols issued by ANSI-AARST for performing radon measurements. Duotrak® offers you a simple way to separate radon exposure measurements made during working hours from non-working hours at the work place.

CARST 2018

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CARST (Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists) organises this 2018 Annual Radon Conference in Ottawa (22-24 April). This year´s topic is “An Elemental Approach: RADON in EARTH AIR WATER”. Radonova is very proud to be gold sponsor of the conference. In addition, Radonova will have one speaker on April 23 presenting the new EURATOM BSS (Basic Safety Standards) Directive.

RADON AWARENESS

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Professionals dealing with radon gas know how important to increase radon awareness is. An article published on St Valentine’s day in the North Shore news interviewed two important names on radon awareness in Canada: Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol (Simon Fraser University) and Alan Whitehead (founding board member and President of CARST and CEO of Radon Environmental). Anne-Marie and Alan are working hard on increasing radon awareness among Canadian population. Anne-Marie is leading a project at her university called “Citizen Scientist Project for radon gas”. These are two examples of joint efforts from scientific and commercial sides to increase radon awareness and therefore protect people from radon exposure.

metroRADON consortium meeting

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Radonova Laboratories is a radon testing company and a producer of radon detectors that has strong interest on radon research. Therefore, it aims to state up-to-date on the most important radon research activities carried out within the scientific community. Due to this, Radonova Laboratories is one of the stakeholders and part of the Industry Interest Group of the EMPIR project metroRADON. This week, Radonova Laboratories has participated in the metroRADON consortium meeting that was held in Braunschweig (Germany) on 20-21 February. 30 participants from different research institutions presented the progress of the project and the upcoming activities.

ERA YouTube Channel

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Radonova Laboratories is founding member of the European Radon Association (ERA) and it has been an active member since 2013. ERA has made its name on the radon community in Europe and it is recognised as an important voice on radon issues. On the last edition of the European Radon Day, ERA made a series of videos in different languages (English, French, German and Spanish) about radon and the EURATOM Basic Safety Standards Directive. You can find these videos on the ERA YouTube channel.

Not only radon … but also Radiocaesium

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Radonova Laboratories is a company that not only deals with radon, but also with the measurement of #Radiocaesium (137Cs). Last fall we measured one sample meat with very high levels of 137Cs. The English newspaper “The Telegraph” published on 6th of October an interesting article entitled “Radioactive wild boar spark concerns in Sweden 31 years after Chernobyl”. We must recall that half-life of 137Cs is 30.07 y. The article reports that the radiation level was 16,000 becquerel per kilogram (Bq kg-1). The limit for 137Cs content is 1500 Bq kg-1. At Radonova Laboratories we also perform 137Cs measurements and this is part of our accreditation ISO 17025.

Deadline EURATOM BSS 2013/59

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The deadline for the implementation of EURATOM BSS Directive 2013/59 was 6th February 2018. Radonova laboratories would like to remind the following:

About #radon gas: Although #radon is a natural radioactive gas, elevated #radon levels indoors are not natural but a by-product of building practices. #radon levels may change daily, and #radon gas accumulation occurs indoors in all type of buildings.

#radon as a health risk: It has been scientifically proved throughout several scientific studies that exposure to #radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer (Darby S. et al, Scand j Work Environ Health 2006;32 (1):1-84; Darby et al, BMJ, doi:10.1136/bmj.38308.477650.63 (published 21 December 2004); Lubin at al, Int. J. Cancer: 109, 132–137 (2004); Lubin et al, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A Vol. 69, Iss. 7-8, 2006). #radon decay products attach to the respiratory system and may cause damage to our DNA.

EURATOM BSS: The new Directive establishes a reference level of 300 Bq m-3. The Directive mandates member states to monitor #radon levels in dwellings, work places and public areas. A detailed list of actions is included on the document and all member states have to set up a national #radon action plan.

#radonawareness

New guide – Reducing the Risk from Radon: Information and Interventions

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CRCPD (Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors) has issued a new guide for health care providers. The document is entitled “Reducing the Risk from Radon: Information and Interventions”. It is a very interesting document that describes in 11 pages basic facts about radon: what is radon?; radon health risk; scientific evidence of connection between radon and lung cancer; how to test radon?; how to reduce radon levels?; and other resources. NOTE: EPA’s radon action level of 4 pCi/L is equivalent to 148 Bq/m3.

You can download the document here

ICRP Dose Conversion Factors

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ICRP, International Commission on Radiological Protection, has issued the document ICRP Publication 137 (ICRP, 2017. Occupational Intakes of Radionuclides: Part 3. ICRP Publication 137. Ann. ICRP 46(3/4)). This document is entitled “Occupational intakes of radionuclides: Part 3”. The publication contains an electronic annex with a comprehensive set of committed effective and equivalent dose coefficients for radon among other radionuclides. A summary of ICRP Recommendations on radon can be found here

Can we reduce radon levels? Yes, we can do that!

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Interview Dr. Borja Frutos-Vazquez

On a recent interview for one Spanish radio station, Dr. Borja Frutos-Vazquez made an excellent review of radon fundamentals and radon prevention and remediation techniques. He covers most aspects from what radon is to how to remove radon from dwellings. The interview is in Spanish, but it is worth the effort to listen to. Dr. Frutos-Vazquez is a prominent researcher on radon in Spain and he was member of the EC of ERA (European Radon Association; www.radoneurope.org). You can access the interview on the following link: https://www.ivoox.com/que-hacer-frente-al-radon-audios-mp3_rf_23344947_1.html

It is possible to reduce radon levels and it is task to be accomplished by all members of the society, from general public to the stakeholders and policy makers.

EU Directive 2013/59/Euratom offer better protection towards radon

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The Council of the European Union issued the new Directive EURATOM Basic Safety Standards (BSS) in January 2014. This document aims to offer better protection for people in workplaces and in dwellings. The document introduces radon gas for the first time into the radiological protection system and establishes a reference level of 300 Bq m-3. In addition to this, the occupational exposure regulation for radon in workplaces has 6 mSv y-1 as the limit value. Above this limit, the situation should be managed as a planned exposure situation and below the limit the requirement is to keep exposures under review.

Implementation in February 2018

The deadline to implement the new Directive is February 2018. Not only reference levels must be introduced in the 28 EU countries, but also national radon action plans have to be developed. Traditionally, the situation of radon policies throughout Europe has been very different from country to country. Nordic countries, Ireland and the UK have some of the most advanced radon programmes while southern countries have done much less to tackle the radon issue.

Main articles about radon

There are four articles very relevant in terms of radon exposure: Art. 2, Art. 54, Art. 74 and Art. 103. According to Article 2, the Directive applies in particular to the exposure of workers or members of the public to indoor radon. So, after implementation of the new Directive, all EU member states will have to include all sectors of their population into the system of radiological protection when it comes to monitoring radon exposure. Articles 54 (radon exposure at workplaces) and 74 deal with the reference level in the member states. The reference levels for the annual average activity concentration in air shall not be higher than 300 Bq m−3. Finally Article 103 refers to the establishment of a national action plan addressing long-term risks from radon exposure in dwellings, buildings with public access and workplaces for any source of radon ingress. Annex XVIII on the document sets out the issues of the action plan.

Five countries have already implemented EU Directive 2013/59/Euratom

Article 106 of the Directive clearly states that “Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 6 February 2018”. In order to get an overview of the implementation’s state, the recent International Workshop on the European Atlas of Natural Radiation dedicated a special session to the implementation state. Almost all EU member states made a presentation and it was concluded that only 5 countries have already implemented the Directive at the time of the workshop. Some countries will implement the new legislation on time before the deadline but a significant amount of member states will have problems complying on time.

International Workshop on the European Atlas of Natural Radiation

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The second edition of the International workshop on the European Atlas of Natural Radiation took place in Verbania, Italy from 6th to 9th November 2017. More than 70 participants gathered in this Italian city on the shore of the famous Lake Maggiore. The audience was composed of researchers and authorities with responsibility for radiological protection.  A small number of private companies were among the participants including Radonova Laboratories AB. The European Radon Association was also represented at this meeting.

Description

The workshop included 10 sessions and 60 oral presentations. The sessions dealt with the following topics:

  1. Radon policies
  2. Sources of natural radiation: geochemical, gamma, soil and water
  3. Sources of natural radiation: instruments, buildings
  4. Radon and geology
  5. Radon priority areas: methodology
  6. Radon priority areas: risk, mapping, classification
  7. Relationship between variables: methodology, multivariate
  8. Relationship between variables: multivariate, transport
  9. Indoor radon
  10. Atlas publication

Radon policies, radon as a tracer and radon in water

The workshop opened with Radon policies and during that session speakers from IAEA, EU, WHO, ERA and other on-going research projects, (metroRADON, LIFE-RESPIRE, Ribibui) discussed the current effect of the radon issue on EU legislation and the Basic Safety Standards documents issued by the EU and IAEA. The question of the current state of DCF’s (Dose Conversion Factors) was addressed as well as radon enforcement actions. Speakers representing 11 countries made presentations concerning sources of natural radiation. The first talk of this session showed the current state of the European Radon Map. It followed talks about the use of radon as a tracer, surveys performed in some countries to assess exposure to gamma radiation, fertilisers with radionuclide content and building materials. Also, radon in water was included for the first time in the workshop.

Radon priority areas, geology and eartquakes

The connection between radon and geological activity included the topic of using radon to forecast earthquakes. The new EURATOM BSS requires the need to define radon priority areas in the EU member states. Therefore, a significant number of presentations were devoted to this subject. Germany, Ireland, Austria, Croatia and Spain presented their advances on this important topic that will be very relevant in the upcoming implementation of the EURATOM BSS Directive. The last day included presentations focusing on indoor radon surveys in various countries, especially those in Eastern Europe.

The European Atlas of Natural Radiation

To conclude the workshop, Giorgia Cinelli and Tore Tollefsen (JRC, EU) presented their progress to date with the publication of the European Atlas of Natural Radiation. This is intended to be an encyclopaedia of natural radiation and it is expected to be finalised at the end of 2018.

ROOMS 2017 and National Irish Radon Forum

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ROOMS meetings have been a must on radon mitigation in Europe since 2000. ROOMS is the acronym for Radon Outcomes On Mitigation Solutions. This series of meetings began in 2000 as an initiative for people associated with radon mitigation in Europe, bringing together academic research and practical experience from industry. The first meetings were held in Central Europe and the official language was German. ROOMS has evolved over the years and become a very important event on radon mitigation in Europe. Nowadays, ROOMS meetings are supported by ERA (European Radon Association) and more than 100 people meet every year. It is an international event (English has substituted German as the official language) and this year it was hosted by EPA-Ireland and NUIG (National University of Ireland Galway).

The city of Galway was an excellent choice for the event and Radonova laboratories participated with two representatives. ROOMS was followed by the National Irish Radon Forum organised by EPA-Ireland.

ROOMS started with presentations from universities and research institutions. First, Le Chi Hung (NUIG, Ireland) presented “An investigation of the optimum specification for soil depressurization systems (active and passive) that take account of Irish building practices”, a project carried out in collaboration with the University of Cantabria (Spain). This presentation was followed by a speaker from CSTB (France), Emilie Powaga. Emilie’s presentation focused on the fact that sometimes sumps are not good solutions to reduce radon levels. After CSTB’s presentation, Connie Box (Bjerking AB, Sweden) presented practical examples of mitigations in old buildings in Sweden. Gernot Wurm (AGES, Austria) made a remarkable exposition of the new Austrian standard for radon prevention in new buildings. Per Nilsson’s presentation (Independia International, Sweden) concerned the Scandinavian experience of radon diagnostics and corrective action. He concluded with the message that testing does not save any lives. Ingvild Finne (NRPA, Norway) talked about the effect on radon levels after the introduction of binding requirements for preventive measures in new buildings in Norway. The significance of this action centred on reducing the radon concentration in homes (40 %) and the percentage of houses above the action limit.

The first day of the meeting ended with presentations made by Borja Frutos-Vazquez (Eduardo Torroja Institute for construction sciences, Spain), Mary T. O’Mahony (HSE, Ireland) and Boris Dehandschutter (FANC, Belgium). Boris showed some interesting facts about the radon problem in karstic regions. These regions may have an increased radon risk. Limestone represents a low to medium risk however the radon variations in karst regions are very high. Radon mitigation in these areas is a big issue.

The second day at ROOMS began with presentations made by Fabio Barazza (Federal Office Public Health, Switzerland), Viktoria Schauer (AGES, Austria), Stephanie Hurst (Saxon State Ministry, Germany), Celine de Potter (HEIA FR, Switzerland) and James McGrath (NUIG, Ireland). James presented a project where they are handling 32 Gb of data in order to understand the ventilation and radon concentration in terms of energy efficiency in Irish buildings. After the break, the speakers varied from the private sector (Thomas Streil, SARAD Germany) and public institutions (NRPA, Belarus Science Academy and State office for Nuclear Safety from Czech Republic).

Next year ROOMS will be part of European Radon Week which will take place during the last week of September 2018 in Lugano, at SUPSI.

The main presentations at the National Irish Radon Forum were made by Stephanie Long and David Fenton. Stephanie presented the national radon control strategy showing impressive and outstanding work on radon in Ireland. They have completed a training course for site staff and radon remediators. In addition, the Law society of Ireland has raised three questions concerning radon which must be answered before putting a home on the market.

David Fenton delivered the current state of the EURATOM BSS implementation in Ireland. The key facts are: a reduction in the reference level for workplaces; clearer requirements on carrying out radon measurements and when to remediate; radon measurements must be made by a registered radon measurement service. ‘Register’ means registered with the EPA; 3 month tests will be required. The new radon reference level in Ireland will be 300 Bq m-3.  The full text of the Directive in Ireland can be found here