Radon:what is it and how to fight it?

Discovered in 1898 by Pierre and Marie Curie, it is a noble and radioactive gas that is formed by the decay of radium (with the expulsion of a helium nucleus).It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.Radon: what it is and why it is dangerous.Radon is a very heavy gas, dangerous for human health if inhaled. The most stable isotope, 222Rn has a half-life of 3.8 days and is used in radiation therapy.

It has no color, no smell, no feel and no movement, yet it is the second leading cause that can lead to lung cancer in many countries, according to the World Health Organization.

he main sources of pollution rarely within confined spaces are:

  • the soil, 
  • building materials,
  • the water. 

Radon has been shown in several countries to be the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer death and the second leading cause of lung cancer death for smokers. 

he radon concentration inside a house depends on several parameters, according to the WHO it depends on these 3 factors:

  1. Amount of uranium that the rocks contain and the ground of the subsoil of the area in which the house is located.
  2. The ways radon finds to seep into homes.
  3. Exchange rate between indoor and outdoor air, that is, indoor air renovation. This depends especially on the ventilation of the building and its tightness.

How to detect the presence of radon in your home?

To determine the concentration of radon present in the environment we must take as a reference measure the count of particles emitted both by him and by his descendants of short life.

There are several techniques to detect the presence of gas. These can be classified as active or passive depending on whether or not forced air is used to collect the sample.

We can differentiate between three existing methodologies:

  • Instant methods . In general, these methods are used to perform general sweeps, studies to identify radon entry routes from the ground or to verify the effectiveness of corrective actions.
  • Continuous reading methods . They are important to study the evolution of concentrations over time, allowing to establish relationships between the activities carried out and the building.
  • Integrated methods . They are the most suitable for inspection and recognition studies and those that allow, in many cases, to decide on the advisability of taking corrective actions after carrying out measures of at least three months.

How to remove radon from homes and buildings?

To reduce the concentration of radon in the interiors, both of newly built and existing homes, we must on the one hand prevent its filtration and on the other ensure the renewal of indoor air so that it does not stagnate.

To do so, WHO recommends:

  1. Improve floor ventilation.
  2. Install a mechanical extraction system in the basement, floor or floor to extract radon from places with greater concentration.
  3. Avoid leaking from the basement to the rooms, depressurizing the space between the floor of the building and the land.
  4. Sealing the floor and walls.
  5. Generally improving the ventilation of the house.

These measures should be taken especially into consideration in those newly constructed buildings located in the areas with the greatest risk of concentration of this radioactive gas.

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