Radon - in my house?

14.04.2021 08:25

The radioactive noble gas radon-222 poses a health risk especially in closed rooms, flats and houses. But how does radon get into buildings in the first place and why is it so dangerous there? Here you will find answers to these questions and, moreover, a solution for targeted reduction of the health risk.

Radon is everywhere in the soil

Radon is formed during the radioactive decay of uranium and is therefore a naturally occurring noble gas in the soil. It is unevenly distributed throughout the world. The BfS soil air map gives an impression: the darker the colouring, the higher the radon activity concentration in the soil air. In general, radon exposure is elevated in former mining and/or mountainous regions. Large uranium deposits or porous rock undergrounds can also be indications of an extraordinary radon load. Outdoors, the radioactive noble gas mixes with the ambient air and does not pose any health risks to humans.

Radon activity concentration in soil air
Schädigung der Lunge durch Radon

Radon damages the lungs

It is different when radon accumulates in closed indoor spaces. Through the incorporation of high radon concentrations via the respiratory tract, heavy metals such as lead and polonium enter the lungs and cause chronic irradiation of the tissue. High radon exposure over a long period of time can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Why is radon becoming dangerous for humans now of all times?

The way of life of modern humans contributes significantly to the increase in radon exposure. We spend most of our daily lives indoors. Many have even shifted their sports activities to the gym or sports halls. Due to corona and the associated lockdown measures, we spend even less time outside buildings.

Radon in buildings

Radon has a variety of pathways into a home. Since radon penetrates upwards from the ground, most radon entry pathways into a building are found in the basement:

  • Cracks in the floor slab
  • Leaks between the floor slab and walls
  • Diffusion through building materials
  • Leaky cable and pipe entries
  • Mineral building materials such as natural stone or slag fills in false floors

  • Radon spreads to upper floors via stairwells, cable ducts and leaky false ceilings due to the so-called chimney effect.

    Spread of radon in the building through the chimney effect

    Renovated old buildings are radon traps

    Insulated windows, insulated roofs and freshly plastered facades are the serious reasons why radon levels can be particularly high in old and existing buildings that have been renovated to make them more energy-efficient. While structural renovation measures usually focus on reducing energy consumption and saving heating costs, the basement area in contact with the ground is usually neglected and remains unchanged. Radon continues to penetrate the building unhindered underground, but can no longer escape above ground from the building, which is insulated all around. Ventilation reduces radon exposure in the short term, but in some cases, especially during the heating season, it is no longer sufficient.

     Radon exposure in renovated buildings

    For a radon-safe home: Radon measurement

    A radon measurement is the first step

    There are many measures to protect against radon and not all of them are equally suitable. Before you invest money unnecessarily in radon remediation, start with a radon measurement. First determine whether there is any radon contamination in your home at all and to what extent. On the basis of this data, you can then decide in a situation-oriented and serious manner whether and which further measures are necessary.

    With our radon consultant for radon measurements, we are at your side with advice and measuring instruments so that you can quickly gain a concrete overview of the possible radon contamination in your building. Stop by and take the first step towards a radon safe home.