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Video: Radon In Living Areas
Radon in living areas
The radioactive noble gas radon occurs in nature. It is one of the decay products of radioactive uranium, which occurs in different concentrations in all soils and rocks. As a noble gas, radon can easily escape from the carrier material into the air and, through inhalation, can expose people to radiation.
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In the open air, radon dilutes quickly and therefore only leads to low radiation exposure. The situation is different indoors. This can lead to an accumulation of radon in the air we breathe and thus to a relatively high level of radiation exposure. How high the indoor exposure actually is depends on many factors. Some of the essential ones are: the uranium content of the rock on which the building stands, the permeability of the soil, the building foundations and the cellar walls for radon as well as the ventilation habits of the residents.
Scientific research shows that radon in the air we breathe is the second most common cause of lung cancer after smoking. According to these studies, around nine percent of all lung cancer deaths across Europe are caused by radon in living spaces.
Austrian radon potential map
Radon exposure varies greatly from region to region in Austria. The Austrian radon potential map provides information about the mean local radon exposure. This map was created from over 20,000 radon measurements that were carried out across Austria between 1991 and 2002. The map shows that there is an increased radon potential in around 500 municipalities.
The radon potential map does not provide any information about the actual radon exposure in individual buildings. Whether the residents of a house actually live with increased radon exposure can only be determined by taking appropriate measurements in the house. The measurement results show whether structural renovation measures are necessary to reduce radon pollution.
Radon prevention for new buildings and renovations
When building, converting or renovating a house, targeted structural measures can be used to prevent health damage from radon. In general, radon mainly enters the building through the components in contact with the ground (foundations and cellar walls). In the case of new buildings, good sealing of these components is the simplest, most effective and most cost-effective way to reduce radon pollution. Radon remediation of existing buildings is generally somewhat more complex. There are various options for subsequent renovation, whereby the cheapest can only be determined in each individual case. You can find more information about radon and structural precautionary measures on the website of the BMLFUW.
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