Radon is a radioactive gas which occurs naturally from the decay of uranium in rocks and soils. It is can only be detected by using special equipment as it has no colour or odour. In the open air it is dispersed to harmless concentrations, but in a confined space tiny radioactive particles can accumulate. These particles when inhaled can be damaging to cells in the lungs and contribute to the risk of lung cancer.
Radon enters a building through cracks in floors or any gaps around pipes or cables. In tends to be sucked into buildings because the internal warm air is lighter than the outdoor air.
It is also advisable for older homes and buildings to check their radon levels and employ radon protection.
Lifecote offers the latest barrier techniques for protection against Radon entering your home or office. Contact us now for a quote.
The Reference Level used by the Radiological Protection Institute , above which the need for action to reduce internal radon exposure should be considered, is 200 Becquerel per metre cubed (Bq/m3).
High Radon Areas are areas where it is predicted that more than 10% of the houses have radon concentrations above the Reference Level.
Radon exists in many isotopic forms, the most important being radon-222. A much less common isotope, radon-220 is often called thoron.Typically these arise from uranium bearing feldspars from some forms of pink granite of igneous origin but might arise in other circumstances as well. The gases decay to so-called "daughters" and it is these isotopes which release alpha particles in the lung. The national average radon activity in houses in the UK is 20 becquerels per cubic metre and this is associated with the life-time risk of lung cancer of 1 in 300. At the "action level" which is 10 times this national average (ie 200 becquerels per cubic metre), the life-time risk of lung cancer is similarly increased 10 fold (1 in 30). It is possible to measure exposures through appropriate dosemeters and to reduce the risk by adaptation of building techniques to prevent radon gas rising through the ground into the house.
The animated image shows how uranium can generate radon gas by fission. The radon gas will itself undergo further fission to produce radioactive 'daughters'. The alpha particles produced by radon daughters are not powerful enough to penetrate the human body from outside it. However, if radon is inhaled, the alpha particles generated by the daughters can cause harm to cells in the lungs and elsewhere.
While the above account relates primarily to radon, similar considerations apply to the almost identical radioactive gas thoron.
Lifecote can supply special units that will reduce Radon levels in any property.
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