Do you run a spa centre? In addition to water quality, test for radon in the air. However, it is not only spa centres that should pay attention to the presence of radon in the air. Radon is a gas that can be dangerous to human health, especially in enclosed spaces. Therefore, it is advisable to check radon levels in public buildings such as schools, kindergartens, nurseries, hospitals, nursing homes, children's homes, boarding schools or student residences.
This is particularly important in establishments where there are elderly or sick people, as well as children, who are more sensitive to radon. In such places, regular testing of radon levels in the air should be carried out and appropriate radon removal methods should be used if excessive radon concentrations are detected.
Attention should also be paid to drinking water treatment plants where the limit for radon in drinking water may be exceeded. In such cases, immediate action should be taken to remove this risk to human health.
Therefore, irrespective of the type of business you run, it is worth remembering to look after the health of your customers and employees, and regularly monitor radon levels in the air and water.
WHAT IS RADON?
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil, water and rocks. Along with the air, radon penetrates into buildings, where it can accumulate in confined spaces such as basements or rooms without ventilation. Unfortunately, radon is considered one of the biggest health risks, especially when it is in indoor air. Inhaling radon for prolonged periods of time can lead to serious illnesses, including lung cancer.
WHY IS RADON DANGEROUS TO OUR HEALTH AND LIFE?
Radon, as it is referred to, is formed from radium present in the earth's crust. However, unlike radium or uranium - these naturally occurring radioactive elements - radon is not a solid, but a gas. Therefore, as a gas, it enters the atmosphere and then penetrates our respiratory system. Unfortunately, it does not remain inert in our body.
We are not able to register radon with any of our senses. However, in the case of radon, the question should not be "is radon in the air?", but "how much of it is there?". If the amount is small, it poses little danger (this is the case in open air). The problem starts when radium levels are elevated, usually indoors, where it easily accumulates and we spend most of our time. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), radon is, next to smoking, the second most common cause of lung cancer in humans worldwide.
RADON IN WORKPLACES - LEGAL REGULATIONS
As a result of the amendment of the Act - Atomic Law of 2019. (Journal of Laws, item 1593), new legal provisions have been introduced into the Polish legal order regulating the principles of protection of workers exposed to elevated concentrations of radon activity in the air. The National Action Plan for long-term risks from exposure to radon in buildings intended for human habitation and in workplaces has been promulgated.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), average annual radon concentrations above 100 Bq/m3 can already cause health problems. Despite this, regulations in many European Union countries, including Poland, set a reference value of 300 Bq/m3 (Polish Atomic Law of 2019, Article 23.). What does this imply? It means that a site with a result below this level, according to the law, does not require any specific intervention. Above this value, it is necessary to implement measures to reduce this concentration below the reference level.
Information on areas where the annual average radioactive concentration of radon in the air in a significant number of buildings is likely to exceed the reference level of 300 Bq/m3 is set out in the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 18 June 2020. The list includes 27 counties and cities with county rights from six provinces. In addition, places exposed to elevated radon concentrations include:
- underground tourist routes,
- spa centres,
- oil extraction sites,
- natural gas extraction sites
- metal ore mining sites,
- underground workplaces,
- public buildings (schools, nurseries, crèches, hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, dormitories, student residences),
- drinking water treatment plants where exceedances of radon have been detected in drinking water,
- underground car parks, warehouses and metro stations.
RADON IN PRIVATE HOMES
The concentration of radon in indoor air depends on the geological structure of the area concerned, the construction of the building, as well as many other parameters. The best way to protect against the risk is to take systematic measurements. However, if exceedances of the reference level are detected, appropriate action must be taken.
Testing radon levels in residential buildings is not yet regulated. However, regular measurements are essential if we are to be sure of safety.
MEASURING RADON CONCENTRATIONS IN THE AIR
Measure radon in your workplace or home in a simple and convenient way. Measurements of radon concentrations in the air will be made using so-called passive detectors. The detectors are plastic vials with a foil inside that is sensitive to the impact of alpha particles emitted by radon.
All you need to do is order the detectors, set them up at the measuring point according to the enclosed instructions, and send the detectors back to us for analysis, which will be carried out by an accredited laboratory.
The number of detectors depends on factors such as the number of rooms, the floor and, above all, the amount of time people spend in the space (more than 4h per day).
The minimum measurement time is one month (up to three months) during the heating period.
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