Protection against radon gas in buildings: governing regulations

There are different regulations establishing the measures to guarantee health and safety inside a building. Usually, protection against radon has its own section.

Protection against radon gas in buildings: governing regulations


Buildings and radon gas

Summarizing what has been said in previous articles: radon is a radioactive gas that comes from rocky soils. It is difficult to detect and it accumulates inside buildings and enclosed spaces, being a potential risk for people’s health.

The access of radon to the interior of the buildings can be produced by different elements: hollows in facades - outdoor air is contaminated -, basement walls - lack of sealing - or soil in contact with the ground - if there is not an anti-radon barrier.

radon house


International legislative framework

The European Commission, in Euratom 90/143, recommends that concentrations of 400 Bq / m3 in existing buildings and 200 Bq / m3 in new buildings should not be exceeded.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection presented a review of the levels of exposure to radon in 2009. This revision reduces the maximum level of 600Bq / m3 to 300Bq / m3 for homes. For work places, protective measures should be implemented starting at 1,000Bq / m3.

There is consensus in the international scientific community about which are the most influential factors in the concentration of radon inside buildings:

  1. Geological: radon gas concentration in the soil, degree of fracturing, and air permeability;
  2. Constructive: existence of basement, presence of barriers against radon;
  3. Atmospheric: differences in pressure between the gas retained on the ground and outside.

Many countries are establishing maximum concentrations of radon for the interior of buildings and developing guidelines on problem-solutions, highlighting the importance of preventive actions.

Protection against radon gas in new buildings 

There are two ways of approaching the problem of radon gas for newly built constructions: to remove the gas that exists in the surroundings or to prevent it from passing through the enclosure of the building.

That is to say:

  • Remove the gases coming from the ground.
  • Use anti-radon barriers.

Protection against radon in existing buildings

After an exhaustive study of the problem, some possible solutions would be:

  • Sealing of joints, cracks and passages to facilities
  • Isolation of basements and garages.
  • Installation of mechanical ventilation systems
  • Applying anti-radon barriers

Synthesia Internacional: anti-radon barriers

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Radon gas

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