There are different regulations establishing the measures to guarantee health and safety inside a building. Usually, protection against radon has its own section.
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.
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 600 Bq/m3 to 300 Bq/m3 for homes. For work places, protective measures should be implemented starting at 1,000 Bq/m3.
There is consensus in the international scientific community about which are the most influential factors in the concentration of radon inside buildings:
- Geological: radon gas concentration in the soil, degree of fracturing, and air permeability;
- Constructive: existence of basement, presence of barriers against radon;
- 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 Technology: anti-radon barriers
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