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Everything you need to know about radon gas

Icona radioattività

What is radon?

Terra secca

Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless and colorless radioactive gas found throughout the earth’s crust. These characteristics make it undetectable by our senses and therefore difficult to detect.

Radon originates from the nuclear decay of radium (226Ra), which in turn constitutes one of the products of the radioactive decay chain of uranium (238U), an element widespread in small quantities throughout the Earth’s crust.

The spontaneous formation of radon gas depends on certain geophysical characteristics of the land.

How was radon gas discovered?

Formule scientifiche

Radon was discovered in 1898 by Pierre Curie, a French physicist, and his wife Marie Curie, a Polish and later French chemist and physicist. Together they did a great deal of research delving deeper into radioactive phenomena discovered earlier by Henri Bequerel.

In 1903 the three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The unit of measurement for radon is derived from their very names: [Bq/m3] (disintegrations per sec per cubic meter)or alternatively [pCi/l] is used.

After the discovery of the various radioactive elements, the danger of radiation exposure was highlighted almost immediately; in fact, in 1902, a case of radio-induced cancer was first recognized.

How can radon gas accumulate inside our homes?

Terra PIN

Radon is generated spontaneously in small quantities in the subsoil and rocks, then dispersing into the atmosphere. It can happen, however, that radon penetrates a confined environment such as the interior of a home, eventually accumulating progressively reaching higher and higher concentration levels that are potentially harmful to the health of residents.

Radon is mainly found in rooms, especially those in direct contact with the ground, such as cellars, basements, taverns, and garages, because the ground is the main source where this gas dwells, with the possibility, however, of getting to radiate into rooms on higher floors as well.

In addition to soil and rocks, there are also other routes of radon transmission: flooring and walls in contact with the ground and not adequately insulated by fractures and cracks, pipes and ducts that are not well sealed, which should in fact always be well controlled if you live in an area most at risk.

What are the effects of radon gas?

Mani Polmoni

Radon, being a radioactive substance, has deleterious effects on human health: the disease most frequently caused by the gas is pulmonary neoplasia, or lung cancer, in all its forms.

The greatest danger of radon gas is related to inhalation: inhaled in excess amounts and for prolonged periods, it becomes a very serious problem.

According to recent estimates made by the World Health Organization, radon is said to be responsible for about 14 percent of all cases of cancer developed in the respiratory system: such a high percentage makes radon gas the leading cause for cancer development in non-smoking patients.

The presence of radon leaves no obvious manifestations on walls or household walls. Also as mentioned earlier, it is not perceptible by our senses. Therefore, the best method to detect its presence is constant monitoring of indoor air.

Remedies to prevent and counteract the problem

Famiglia felice sul divano

Constantly measuring the concentration of CO2 in the air can bring you and the people around you (family members in the home environment or colleagues in the office) quite a few benefits including higher quality of the air you breathe, thus greater health and well-being, savings in energy consumption (avoiding heat loss in the winter and air conditioning in the summer), and the ability to control other factors that are critical to the quality of the air you breathe (such as humidity).