The invisible danger of noble gas radon

Radon is a radioactive noble gas which occurs naturally in sand, clay and rock and therefore also in construction materials such as brick, natural stone, concrete and cement. In fact, radon occurs in all buildings. The RIVM has calculated that radon causes around 250 cases (source) of lung cancer in the Netherlands every year. How can you protect yourself against this?

Danger lies in combining radon with particulate matter

Radon in itself isn’t dangerous. It is a noble gas that doesn’t react with other substances. It is radioactive, but because after inhaling it you exhale it again, this doesn’t make it acutely dangerous. The danger lies in combining it with particulate matter.

Radioactive particles adhere to particulate matter

Radioactive radon, which is odourless and colourless by nature, has the property of crumbling into different particles. These radioactive particles adhere to the particulate matter present in the air. When inhaling, some particulate matter remains in the lungs. Once there, the radioactive radiation is hazardous.

Higher concentrations when demolishing stone and concrete

Higher concentrations of particulate matter infected by radon is released when stone and concrete are being demolished, for example. High concentrations are also found in crawl spaces and cellars, where the gas accumulates. Radon is also released from rising ground water in wet crawl spaces.

Measures for reducing exposure

Because particulate matter is a carrier of these radioactive particles, it is important to keep concentrations of inhaled particulate matter as low as possible.

For residents

It is important that residents ventilate their homes properly by opening grates or opening windows and doors from time to time in order to air the home properly. You can reduce rising radon from the crawl space by ventilating the crawl space properly. You should therefore ensure that ventilation grates in the crawl space don’t become blocked. Covering the ground of the crawl space and/or the floor helps too.

For building professionals

For building professionals, people who are involved with particulate matter derived from concrete and stone, it is very important to limit inhalation of particulate matter. Disposable masks offer limited protection. It is better to use longer-lasting respiratory protection such as a half-face mask or a full-face mask with a P3 filter. In poorly ventilated rooms, you must use a respiratory air system that blows clean fresh air into the mask. This prevents s shortage of oxygen or suffocation caused by too high a concentration of carbon dioxide.

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about protection against particulate matter, or you have another question about radon or respiratory protection, give us a call on +31 (0)88 130 6030, or use the contact form below.


UP
Heb je een vraag?
Bel 023 – 554 67 66
App +31 (0) 6 135 582 70
of ga naar contactformulier