The radon concentration of the air inside a room and the duration of the contamination are the critical factors that contribute to the risk of cancer, along with the lifespan of the decay products that bond to the very smallest particles in the air, and the amount of time they spend in the respiratory tract.
Decades can pass before the disease actually emerges. Current scientific studies show how the risk of cancer increases with the increase in the radon concentration in the indoor air. This makes effective radon sealing indispensable in the affected areas.
Radon can enter living spaces from a variety of sources, including the ground beneath the building, the construc-tion materials, the ambient air and water.A key influencing factor is how well a building is protected against radon in the areas that come into contact with the ground (e.g. cellar walls and floors).
Radon finds its way in through cracks, gaps and tiny openings in the foundations and walls, as well as creeping in through cable and pipe passageways. If there is inadequate protection, it diffuses through the construction materials. So far there is no indication of a threshold below which radon would be harmless. Therefore, the radon concentration should be reduced as much as possible by radon sealing in all dwellings.
Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless noble gas. Radon is found everywhere in nature. Like other noble gases, radon hardly forms any chemical compounds and is soluble in water and fat.
The earth's crust has contained radioactive, extremely long-lived uranium since the earth was formed. Over the course of time, radioactive secondary products such as radium-226 are formed under the emission of alpha, beta and gamma radiation. This radium-226, which is present practically everywhere in the earth's crust, decays into radon-222 under the emission of alpha radiation. It is constantly being regenerated in the soil and released into soil pores and soil air.
Radon diffuses through the ground to the surface and escapes into the atmospheric air. Radon-222 has a half-life of 3.82 days. During this time, radon breaks down into other radioactive decay products that are no longer gaseous but solid (heavy metal).
Radium-226, which is present practically everywhere in the earth, decays into Radon-222 with the emission of alpha radiation. It is constantly regenerated in the soil and released in soil pores and soil air. Radon diffuses through the ground to the surface and exits into the atmospheric air. Radon-222 has a half-life of 3.82 days. During this time, radon breaks down into other radioactive decay products that are no longer gaseous but solid (heavy metal).
Only the 4 short-lived radon secondary products are important for radiation protection. The decay products Pb-210 ⇒ Bi-210 ⇒ Po-210 ⇒ Pb-206 are long-lived and rarely occur in the atmospheric air.
Radon and its secondary products Po-218 → Pb-214 → Bi-214 → Po-214, which are relevant from the point of view of radiation protection, are formed in the air and accumulate mainly in aerosols.
These radioactive aerosols are transported into the human lungs with the air we breathe. Here they attach themselves to the sensitive lung tissue and continue to decay. They damage cell tissue and human DNA and can cause lung cancer.
Radon risk areas are those areas with an increased level of radon above a reference value.
Reference should be made to maps in the BRE Report - BRE 211 and via : https://www.ukradon.org/information/ukmaps as to determining the level of risk to your building.
For Northern Ireland: Please refer to Public Health England inidicative atlas for Northern Ireland https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/radon-indicative-atlas-for-northern-ireland and in Republic of Ireland http://www.epa.ie/radiation/radonmap/
While terminology may vary within the different regional building regulations, guidance document maps will give the level of associated risk and determine the required level of radon protection either “basic” or “full”.
“Basic” protection means you need to lay a ground floor radon membrane and “full” protection means that in addition, you need to make provision for underfloor depressurisation by installation of a sump or subfloor ventilation.
For details on depressurisation, please refer to BRE 211.
According to current information from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) & World Health Organization (WHO), protective measures are recommended from an annual mean of 100 Bq / m³.
A reference / or guideline value is a value which should be followed and adhered to in order not to act negligently or grossly negligent under any circumstances.
Because radon is of natural origin, the radiation source cannot be removed and a risk can be detected even with naturally occurring radon concentrations.
A limit value only makes sense if the extent of radiation level can be controlled and the amount of radioactive material can be adjusted, exposure can be controlled and protective measures can be taken.
If a limit for radon concentrations in buildings were defined, measures would have to be taken there. Consequently, restrictions on use or renovation measures in private buildings would be absolutely necessary. Measures required by defining a limit value are not considered appropriate by international radiation protection experts. It was agreed that there should only be one reference value for radon.
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, employers must identify hazards in their workplace which includes radon, assess the risk and eliminate or reduce and control the risk. In addition, Section 8(2)(d) of the Act requires that the employer ensures, so far as it is reasonably practicable, the safety and the prevention of risk to health at work of his or her employees relating to the exposure to ionising or other radiations.
Nuclear track detectors have become established for long-term measurement of interior radon occurrence. They register the radon concentration over a defined time. No measurement effect is lost. According to the Radiation Protection Commission, it is recommended to perform assessment measurements with nuclear trace detectors over a period of twelve months. Alternatively, a measurement can also take place over three months in spring or autumn.
Setting up radon measuring devices is comparatively simple.
Due to basement walls being in contact with the surrounding ground, the radon levels in a basement can be considerably higher than that of a standard house. All basements are at risk regardless of location within a higher risk area or not.
Where newly consructed or an existing basement conversion, the waterproofing should be designed to protect against radon and the ingress of groundwater. Remmers MB 2K can be used as a combined product for this application.
Remmers offer several certified radon proof products for old and new buildings. All of the products listed below have been tried and tested in practice, and approved over many years.
Tested, certified and permanently radon-proof with Remmers!
Tests carried out by the expert for radon, Dr. Kemski in Bonn, certify the radon reduction properties of the following Remmers products applied at the thickness stated:
MB 2K, PBD 1K, PBD 2K, BIT K2, BIT 1K S, BIT 1K [basic], BIT 2K [basic]
Tninsg to know about the protection against radon
The gas permeability of a sealing material depends both on its material composition and on the properties of the penetrating gas. Noble gases such as radon, diffuse particularly well as single atoms through porous substances. In particular, the half-life (the period of time after which half of the originally present quantity of the isotope has been decomposed by radioactive decay) of radon must be taken into account (3.82 days). The radioactive decay takes place within the components if the diffusion time of radon atoms through the materials to be diffused is several half-lives. The decay products that form are then no longer gaseous and are bound in the building material, i.e they do not reach the ambient air and are therefore harmless to humans.
Radon-tight materials must be at least three times as thick as the diffusion length of radon, according to a proposal that has now been accepted by scientists*.
* Keller, G .; Hoffmann, B .; Feigenspan, Th .: "Radon permeability and radon exhalation of building materials", Science of the total environment 272 (1-3), pp. 85-89 (2001), doi: 10.1016 / S0048-9697 (01) 00669-6
Whether new or old; Radon is a key issue for health, so play it safe with Remmers!
You can find more information on certified radiation protection in our current brochure.