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The world’s most accurate radon detector for short-term measurement turns 20

By Home, Measurement No Comments

Radonova has been supplying Rapidos radon detectors for 20 years. In that time, over 250,000 units have been manufactured which have mainly been used for short-term measurements (between seven to ten days). This type of measurement gives a good indication of radon levels that may exist in the home or workplace. Normally, Rapidos detectors are used when you do not have enough time to take a long-term measurement and obtain an annual average – which requires a measurement period of at least three months in most countries.

High accuracy when compared to market alternatives

There are many types of radon detectors for short-term measurement. However, none are as reliable as Rapidos.

“Rapidos continues to be unique, not least because of its large chamber volume for detection and the clean, transparent plastic film that is placed inside the detector. After 20 years of use by customers from all over the world, we know that Rapidos remains the leading and most popular detector for short-term radon measurement”, says Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

Rapidos consists of a plastic lid and bottom with a gap that lets in the air which is measured. Radioactive alpha particles arising from the decomposition of radon gas leave traces in the transparent plastic film made by C39. In order to obtain a precise measurement, it is crucial that you obtain sufficient traces of the film which can then be analysed, especially in view of the short measurement time. The large measurement chamber enhances the detection speed to provide an improved statistic for short-term measurement.

“Many suppliers use the same type of detector for both long and short-term measurement, which in all honesty does not provide sufficient accuracy. Detectors like Rapidos have too small a measurement volume for long-term measurement requirements”, continues Karl Nilsson.

Ideal to use when selling or buying a house

Rapidos is mainly used in relation to the sale or purchase of a property. In this scenario, you often don´t have time to wait for a long-term radon measurement. However, by using Rapidos you still get a very good indication of radon levels. The analyse provided is usually adequate enough to decide whether a radon-lowering measure is required. In contrast to long-term measurement (which is conducted to obtain an annual average value), short-term measurements can be done all year round. In many countries, long-term measurements are only conducted when the heating is on at home or in the workplace, which is normally between October and April.

Why measure radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that leaks from the ground and in some cases comes from building materials. Depending on the ground beneath the house and the type of building construction, harmful high concentrations of radon can occur. Second to smoking, it is the cause of most lung cancer cases in the world.

Globally, an estimated 230 000 people are affected each year by lung cancer as a result of long-term exposure to radon. Lung cancer is one of the cancers that has the highest mortality, with only 20 percent of those affected surviving five years after the initial diagnosis. Therefore, it is essential to monitor for radon to ensure that it does not exceed the applicable national limit values. Note, limit values vary from country to country. However, if you order a radon measurement from Radonova it is straightforward to check which limit value applies to your country.

Short-term measurement

Take Action on Radon and Radonova Collaborate on 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge

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Radonova, the global leader in radon measurement, is proudly partnering with Take Action on Radon to supply Radtrak² radon gas detectors for the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge.

What is the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge?

The objective of the campaign is to gather more information about radon concentrations across Canada to increase knowledge and better understand concentration levels. The challenge targets municipalities where radon testing has thus far been limited, but where there is a potential for homes to have elevated radon levels. With the support of Health Canada, the project has already met it’s 2019 goal of singing up 15 communities. The program provides 100 test kits to each participating municipality, to be distributed to citizens for free or for a nominal fee. Each community needs to have a Community Liaison to take on this project to provide local support. Sign up here if you’re interested in becoming a community champion and joining the challenge for 2019-2020 fall and winter season.

Developing awareness about radon

“Many Canadians still don’t know that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers,” says Pam Warkentin, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST), and Project Manager for Take Action on Radon. “Reducing radon exposure saves lives, and the 100 Test Kit Challenge is a great way for a community to come together and address this risk.”

Radon is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas created by the natural decay of uranium in the soil. A measurable amount of radon is found in every building, but exposure to high amounts over a long period of time presents a risk of lung cancer. Radon is the primary cause of lung cancer in non-smokers – Health Canada estimates that about 16% of lung cancer deaths are related to exposure to radon in the home. However, all homes can be tested for radon and radon levels can be reduced if they are found to be high.

Long term testing

Radtrak² is Radonova’s long-term radon gas detector which measures homes and workplaces for radon gas over a sustained period. As radon levels fluctuate from day to day, the long term test method captures radon concentrations over time to provide a better, more accurate and representative average radon gas level. Long term radon testing is also recommended by Health Canada.

Bill Rounds, President of Radonova, said: “The 100 Test Kit Challenge is an excellent example of a project that engages communities to participate and encourage radon testing, and raise much needed public awareness of the dangers of radon exposure in those areas of Canada where testing has been limited. Do not underestimate radon, it is a global health problem that is estimated to cause 230,000 cases of lung cancer each year¹. Living with high levels of radon is an unnecessary health risk. Elevated radon levels in the home can easily be reduced, but first you have to test.”

Who is Take Action on Radon?

Take Action on Radon is a national initiative which brings together radon stakeholders and raises awareness of radon across Canada. The current advisory team is made up of the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST), CAREX Canada, and the Canadian Cancer Society. The success of this initiative hinges on the participation and dedication of hundreds of radon stakeholders coast to coast – from radon professionals and community champions to radon researchers, public health officials, and programs at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels.

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 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.

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New calculator simplifies radon measurement in the workplace

By Home, Workplace No Comments

To coincide with the start of the radon measurement season, Radonova has launched a web application that makes it easier to calculate how many radon detectors are required to measure radon in the workplace.

Due to national radiation protection laws which were introduced across Europe in 2018, there is now a legal requirement to measure radon levels in workplaces. The laws are based on the EU Directive 2013/59/Euratom which lays down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to radiation. Therefore, employers are now responsible for controlling radon levels in workplaces, and if necessary, taking measures to lower them.

Inspired by home calculator

To meet the demand for workplace measurements, Radonova has developed a user-friendly online solution that quickly calculates how many radon detectors are needed to make a correct measurement.

”The first web application we developed calculated how many radon detectors were needed to measure radon in apartment buildings. It was a huge success which saved time and simplified the process for us and our customers. Therefore, it was logical to develop and offer a similar solution for measuring workplace environments, ”comments Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

Workplace quality standards for radon measurement

Measurement quality standards and protocols are in place to determine how many radon detectors should be used and where they should be located. It is important to be aware that these standards vary from country to country. However, many standards and protocols are currently being reviewed as a result of the EU directive. Pending completion of various national audits, Radonova has chosen to base its calculator on the quality standards defined by the International Radon Measurement Association (IRMA). It is an established and respected standard and ensures that measurement methodologies deployed by Radonova meet both current and future international guidelines.

Get it right from the outset

Radonova’s technical director Tryggve Rönnqvist has actively participated in the development of IRMA’s standards and procedures. As Radonova is a global organisation, it has insight into the different protocols that are deployed across the world:

”Our experience is that customers don´t want to go back and forth, but would rather all appropriate measurements are carried out at the same time. Therefore, our advice is to make sure you use the correct number of radon detectors to detect problems to ensure you get the right insight if elevated values are detected. Given that we now have statistics which show that 20 percent of Swedish workplaces have elevated annual radon values, it´s even more important to follow a standard that provides the most accurate radon measurement. If you follow IRMA’s protocols, you are guaranteed to meet national requirements, regardless of country. This is why we have chosen to develop the calculator based on IRMA’s guidelines.”

The new calculator is available as a web application on Radonova’s web site.

New calculator simplifies radon measurement in the workplace

Radon detector or digital radon sensor – which one to choose?

By Home No Comments

The market offers a variety of different radon detectors and digital radon sensors. As an individual, it can be difficult to know which one is the most appropriate for measuring radon in a house. To make things easier, we have put together a guide to better facilitate the choice of either a radon detector or digital radon sensor.

In short, it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve and measure. However, it is important to first understand how dangerous radon can be.

How can radon pose a health risk?

Radon is a radioactive gas that leaks from the ground and in some cases comes from building materials. Depending on the ground beneath the house and the type of building construction, harmful high concentrations of radon can exist.

Radon is the most common cause of lung cancer in humans after smoking. As with smoking, it is the long-term effect that can lead to cancer, the risk increases if you are exposed to high levels of radon for several years. However, staying in an indoor environment with an elevated radon content for a short time is not dangerous. To truly understand the risks in your own home, it is important to take a radon measurement over a prolonged period. This avoids getting a misleading value; radon content can vary enormously over 24 hours and can also be affected by weather conditions.

Due to the health risks and the importance of reliable radon measurements, radiation safety authorities around the world recommend that an annual average level of radon is measured. By defining an annual average value, you get the most accurate assessment of radon levels and possible health risks. The recommended maximum levels ​​found in different countries are also expressed in annual averages.

When should I use radon detectors?

If you have never conducted a radon measurement in your home and want to know what risk you may be exposed to, radon detectors are a better option than digital radon sensors. Detectors come with easy to follow instructions and should be placed in several rooms around the home. After 2-3 months, you then send the radon detectors to a laboratory for analysis.

Some of the advantages of using radon detectors:

– You get the radon content of your house expressed in an annual average that best reflects potential health risks.

– To meet national requirements place several radon detectors around the house. It is an inexpensive, robust, easy and proven method for assessing radon exposure risk.

– By using an accredited laboratory, you will receive an accurate and reliable radon content level analysis.

– Some countries offer grants to asses radon related issues. In these cases the radon content measurement is only approved if it is expressed in an annual average.

However, in order to obtain an annual average value, you do not need to conduct a radon analysis across the whole year. It usually takes 2-3 months depending on which country you measure in and what rules need to be abided by. If you choose an accredited measuring laboratory you will receive accurate and easy to follow instructions to enable you to correctly choose the right number of radon detectors for your property.

When measuring with a radon detector, it is important to understand that you cannot directly (on site) see what radon levels you have in the house. It is only the measuring laboratory that can analyze the detector – subsequently you then receive a measurement expressed in an annual average which highlights the radon level in your house.

When should I use a digital radon sensor?

Digital radon sensors are primarily used to measure the effect of a radon measure i.e. when you are proactively looking to lower radon levels. Why? Radon sensors allow the user to see how radon levels vary from hour to hour. This can be really useful if, for example, a radon suction has been installed to lower the radon content in a house.

In principle, you can also measure the annual mean with a digital radon sensor, but industry wide this is not recommended. Certainly, there are radon sensors that express the average radon content over a longer period of time. However, there are no digital radon detectors for individuals that are accredited or approved for radon measurement. Using digital radon sensors to measure the annual average is also significantly more expensive than using radon detectors because measuring radon content in one room is usually insufficient.

In most circumstances, in order to obtain a correct value, radon levels are measured in several rooms. This means that you need a number of radon sensors, which in turn can entail large costs – especially if you compare the cost of measuring an annual average with radon detectors.

In conclusion, radon detectors are the most appropriate tool for measuring the risk of radon exposure in houses.

Radon detector or digital radon sensor – which one to choose?

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

By Home No Comments

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.

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

By Home No Comments

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.

house

Important to measure radon regardless of where you live

By Home, Multi family building No Comments

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

Why is radon dangerous?

By Home No Comments
dangerous

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 chemical symbol Rn. It is a so-called “inert” gas, which means that the element radon does not readily react with other substances. However, radon gas is radioactive and decays naturally. When the radon decays, it emits ionising radiation containing alpha particles.

Ionising radiation

Ionisation removes electrons from an atom by means of radiation. 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?

Radon in its normal form exists as a gas. You’d, therefore, presume that airing the building would get the radon out. You can fix some types of radon problem through simple ventilation, but this is not the best solution in many other cases. Unfortunately, the gas fills up constantly if the surrounding soil of the building has a radon content that refills the indoor air.

Radon belongs to one of the natural decay chains, 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, particularly lung cancer. When you live and spend a lot of time in the building, radon can gradually cause harm.  Currently, the recommended radon level is less than 300 Bq m-3in rooms in which you spend a lot of time (WHO recommends no more than 100 Bq m-3). If the value is higher, you should take action to deal with the radon problem.

Radon Entry Points – Basement

By Home No Comments
basement
Below Grade Windows
Sump Pump
Cracks in Foundation Walls
Footing
Cracks in Concrete Slab
Floor Drains
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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!

Buildings and radon

By Home, Multi family building No Comments

Your building and radon

It is important to measure radon regardless of where you live

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

Why are there such large local differences in radon content?

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

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

Where does radon leak into houses?

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

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