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POLLUTANTS voc

RADON

Radon is a gas which occurs naturally in the atmosphere and cannot be detected by the senses.

Being a radioactive gas, it disperses rapidly in the atmosphere while concentrating in closed environments and is therefore considered a typical indoor pollutant. It comes mainly from rocks in the subsoil, especially those of volcanic origin (granites, pozzolan, tuffs, lavas), or building materials rich in natural radionuclides.

Another source is water (< all’1%), as Radon gas is moderately soluble in water. In a building the main Radon source is the soil on which it rests, so the premises most affected by this type of pollution are the basements, cellars and all ground floor spaces. A peculiar feature of indoor Radon is the great variability of its concentration, linked not only to the power and physical characteristics of its main sources (soil and building materials), but also to the microclimatic parameters (pressure and temperature), to the construction techniques of building as well as ventilation.

Measuring exposure

It is necessary to ensure that the Radon concentration in indoor environments is as low as possible. Above all, it is strongly recommended not to smoke indoors in areas identified as having high Radon exposure.

With the “Radon National Plan for the Reduction of Lung Cancer Risk in Italy” of 2008, it is required that in urban planning instruments (coordination plans, PRG, building regulations, etc.), all new buildings should be provided with constructive measures aimed at reducing Radon entry and facilitating the installation of Radon removal systems, which may prove necessary after the construction of the building.

The same requirements should be adopted in the case of existing buildings subject to renovation or extraordinary maintenance, which significantly involve the parts in contact with the ground. A recommended measure is to ventilate the rooms frequently.

WARNING!

Radon in Italy. The measurement campaigns carried out by the regions in order to identify areas with a high probability of high Radon concentration (Radon prone areas) have found that the average national radon concentration in Italian homes is 70 Bq / cubic meter. It is a higher value than the global average value, which is around 40 Bq / cubic meter. At the regional level, average concentrations were variable, lower in Basilicata, Calabria and Marche, and higher in Lombardy, Lazio, Campania and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

In Italy, Radon legislation only currently exists for workplaces and schools.

Measuring exposure

It is necessary to ensure that the Radon concentration in indoor environments is as low as possible. Above all, it is strongly recommended not to smoke indoors in areas identified as having high Radon exposure.

With the “Radon National Plan for the Reduction of Lung Cancer Risk in Italy” of 2008, it is required that in urban planning instruments (coordination plans, PRG, building regulations, etc.), all new buildings should be provided with constructive measures aimed at reducing Radon entry and facilitating the installation of Radon removal systems, which may prove necessary after the construction of the building.

The same requirements should be adopted in the case of existing buildings subject to renovation or extraordinary maintenance, which significantly involve the parts in contact with the ground. A recommended measure is to ventilate the rooms frequently.

WARNING!

Radon in Italy. The measurement campaigns carried out by the regions in order to identify areas with a high probability of high Radon concentration (Radon prone areas) have found that the average national radon concentration in Italian homes is 70 Bq / cubic meter. It is a higher value than the global average value, which is around 40 Bq / cubic meter. At the regional level, average concentrations were variable, lower in Basilicata, Calabria and Marche, and higher in Lombardy, Lazio, Campania and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

In Italy, Radon legislation only currently exists for workplaces and schools.

Additional informations

Decade products

Radon gives rise to a series of decay products, also radioactive, which attach themselves to aerosol particles. Only a part of them remain in free form. When Radon and its decay products (or “descendants” of Radon) are inhaled, they can decay inside the respiratory system, emitting ionizing radiation, especially alpha particles, of high energy.

In reality, Radon acts primarily as a transporter and source of its decay products.
These last ones are responsible for effects on health, in particular the alpha particles.

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