Radon Gas Detection
Radon Gas can cause a health risk if detected at levels higher than Public Health England guidelines. Monitoring followed by the mitigation or removal of radon gas can reduce levels to risk exposure.
What is radon gas and where is it found?
Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas. It is formed by the radioactive decay of the small amounts of uranium that occur naturally in all rocks and soils. Radon gas is all around us, outside and indoors, but normally at a low level that poses only a small health risk.
It can enter buildings through small gaps and cracks that have formed, or it can be drawn into a building because the pressure in the building is slightly lower than the pressure in the soil.
The decay products of Radon gas are named Daughters, and these give off something called alpha radiation particles that can be inhaled into our lungs. Alpha particles contain more energy and are absorbed over a smaller area than beta particles or gamma rays, making them more harmful.
Over time if someone inhales these particles it can damage the DNA in their lungs, leading to lung cancer. Statistics show there are between 1100 and 2000 lung cancer deaths each year caused by radon gas and it is the primary cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Radon is measured in becquerels per cubic metre of air (Bq m-3). The average level in UK homes is 20 Bq m-3. This amount of radiation gives us half our exposure from all sources, so it is important to monitor the radon levels in your home or workplace to ensure they are not too high. Public Health England has set the Action Level for homes at more than 200 Bq m-3.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires the assessment of Radon as a health and safety risk in workplaces. The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99) come into effect where radon is shown to be above 400 Bq/m3 in a workplace. At this level and above employers are required to take action to restrict exposure.
The only way to truly know the gas levels in your property is to test it. The easiest way to do this is to strategically place radon detector monitors throughout your premises. We can provide monitoring is for domestic homes and commercial properties. Monitors are safe and simple to use and can record any damage done by the alpha particles emitted from Radon gas. They can be positioned out of the way on a shelf, for example, so should not affect your daily life. Once the testing period is up the detectors are sent for analysis at an independent lab.
Radon levels fluctuate over time and room to room and can also be affected by weather conditions. This means monitoring is ideally carried out over a period of three months to allow for these variations. To test in your home we use two detectors, one in a bedroom and one in the living room. If a property is large there may need to be more detectors to get an accurate reading. In the workplace monitors are placed strategically around the building in areas used widely by employees, avoiding kitchens, toilets, or corridors.
If our investigations show your levels of radon gas are over the Action Level or the recommended Target Level of 100 Bq-m3, we would recommend action is taken. We can provide and install products for radon gas mitigation and removal in existing buildings and new builds.
A mitigation system extracts the radon from the soil beneath your property and vents it away from the house through a system of pipes. Sometimes mitigation can be achieved by installing positive pressurisation or heat recovery ventilators. We can also offer you advice on sealing cracks and openings, in a bid to lower the flow of radon into your home.