What do you want to know first about Radon? The good news, or the bad news?
Firstly, the bad news… it’s a killer. Secondly, the good news… it can be removed
Radon is the most significant cause of lung cancer after smoking and is accountable for thousands of deaths each year as well as long term respiratory suffering.
WHAT IS RADON?
Radon is a gaseous by-product of the decaying of uranium which itself decays giving birth to daughters at each half-life. Daughters of radon are harmful levels of alpha radiation in the form of heavy metal particles. These particles attach to positively charged aerosols which are then readily attracted to negatively charged aerosols, thereby quickly building up radioactive sources.
HOW DOES IT OCCUR?
Radon occurs naturally in the ground, particularly in areas rich in uranium deposits. It seeps up through the strata and, as it is heavier than air, it collects first in basements, underground spaces and waterways. Once up on the surface, it hangs around at ground level, seeping into poorly ventilated buildings through windows, doorways, letterboxes, cat flaps, air bricks, etc., where concentrations can become dangerous.
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
Effectively managing radon often requires an appropriate combination of controls. Where it is seeping up through the foundations, probably the most popular and successful method is soil depressurisation. This can be achieved in two ways: by creating a complete venting void under the building, allowing the radon to escape to atmosphere, or by digging a ventilated sump under the foundation slab, creating a low pressure point that draws the radon to it. Where there is no slab, a vapour barrier membrane is used to the same effect. Positive pressure ventilation inside the building can be used to reduce radon ingress above ground.
Managing radon in mines and tunnels is the same in principle, though the practical application of it varies as appropriate to the situation.
Read more about it here and see how the area you live or work in is affected by radon.