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February 2019

Important to measure radon regardless of where you live

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In the UK, there are radon maps that show which areas are more exposed to radon and which are less exposed. Consequently, many people do not measure radon because they think they live in a radon-free area, but that is wrong. Almost all of UK is exposed to radon and considerable local differences can exist within the residential areas. That is confirmed by studies carried out by Radonova in which the results from the same residential area were examined. That is why it is always important to measure radon and not rely on radon maps.

Why are there such large local differences in radon content?

It is due to variations in radon in the ground and how buildings are constructed. Also what maintenance they have had and what rebuilding has taken place.

The levels of radon in the ground depend on factors such as the extent to which the elements uranium and radium are present in our rock types and therefore also our soil types. Radon gas is formed from these elements and is transported through the soil layer with the aid of air and ground water. This means, for example, that there is a greater risk of radon in buildings constructed on sand and gravel. These highly porous soil types contain large amounts of air that can easily transport radon up into buildings.

Important – Where does radon leak into houses?

Radon from the ground leaks into houses and apartment blocks in many different ways. Unsealed penetrations in the form of incoming electricity and water supplies enable radon to leak into the building. A concrete pad with cracks can also allow radon to leak in.

These causes mean that there can be considerable local variations in the radon content in residential areas. It is therefore always important to measure the radon content in indoor air, regardless of where you live and how you live – in a house or in an apartment building.

important

Radonova uses date-marking for even safer measurement

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date-marking

Radonova Laboratories introduces date-marking for the detectors used in radon monitoring. Together with the recently launched vacuum packaging, the date-mark ensures that the monitoring and analysis work can be carried out with the utmost reliability.

Tryggve Rönnqvist, technical manager at Radonova Laboratories, describes the benefits of date-marking the detectors:

“By date-marking each individual pack, we further increase the measurement certainty of short-term monitoring. If radon monitoring is carried out over seven to ten days after the detector has been stored for a year, this could have some effect on the result. Quite simply, it’s more difficult to measure lower concentrations reliably if the monitoring period is short and the storage time is long. Even though we’re talking about small deviations, we always strive to give our customers the most accurate monitoring results possible.”

Easier for stockists and customers with their own stock of detectors

“Above all, data-marketing makes life easier for international stockists and customers who have their own stock of radon detectors. Now they can quickly see how old the detectors are and optimise their warehouse logistics accordingly. Real estate agents are another good example of businesses that benefit from clear date-marking. Monitoring is often fast and frequent in this segment and many agents, therefore, often have their own supply of detectors. With date-marking, we’ve made it easier to use the detectors in the right order.

“Although our monitoring is already at the very forefront of reliability, clear data-marking of each detector and the newly introduced vacuum packaging helps us to offer even simpler, more reliable radon monitoring.

Radonova Laboratories is introducing date-marking on its detectors in November 2018. The newly launched vacuum packaging provides a maximum storage time of eight months. Both for short-term monitoring and three years for long-term monitoring. Radonova also recommends beginning long-term monitoring within 18 months because the measurement uncertainty decreases the sooner monitoring begins.

For further information about radon and radon monitoring, contact us here

Benjamin Portin sees opportunities at Radonova

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Settling into a new job isn’t always easy. Benjamin Portin, however, has quickly become a part of Radonova Laboratories. After starting as a temporary worker at Radonova, Benjamin now works full-time in the company’s production and analysis department.

“Naturally, it helps that, in my case, I worked at Radonova while I was studying. But I get the feeling that this is a workplace where you quickly become one of the team. It’s also a place where you have great freedom with responsibility. There’s very little micromanaging here, instead, everyone knows what needs to be done without needing instructions for each work stage,” says Benjamin.

Growth and strict demands have to be matched

As a world leader on a market with strict demands in all stages, the continued success is based on the company and employees being in sync. Promoting a corporate culture characterised by dedication and a willingness to learn is a key component. Another is that all employees see opportunities to develop.

“It’s nice to work at a company where you know that several of the managers started on the shop floor, like me. Anyone who is both driven and willing to learn has every opportunity to develop. This is a company and market that offers very exciting career opportunities,” continues Benjamin.

“Radonova is currently growing in several markets. At the same time, we’ve positioned ourselves as a company with very high quality, and the fastest delivery and analysis times on the market. In turn, this places strict demands on each individual employee. Everyone has an important role to play and we’re mutually dependent. Clearly this is a team effort,” comments Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

The work itself is important

It’s estimated that more than 200,000 people a year die as a result of radon-related lung cancer. More and more countries are beginning to understand the importance of working to reduce exposure to radon.

“People’s knowledge of radon in general is still quite basic. At the same time, it’s clear that many people are surprised that understanding what the situation is where you live or work doesn’t have to be difficult. In many cases, remedying an elevated radon level doesn’t have to be particularly complicated either. Obviously, it’s more enjoyable to go to work knowing that what we do helps to influence human health for the better,” Benjamin concludes.

Benjamin studied the nature programme at upper secondary school. Today he works with production and the analysis of radon samples.

Radonova

Johan Olsson leads Radonova’s work to measure radon in workplaces

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workplaces

“It’s time the new Radiation Protection Act for workplaces was taken seriously”

Sweden’s new Radiation Protection Act came into force on 1 June 2018. Now the country’s employers have to be aware of the radon levels in our workplaces. Employers also have to take action that may reasonably be required to tackle radon levels over the hygienic limit value of 200 Bq/m³.

Johan Olsson of Radonova Laboratories is a specialist in workplace monitoring. He describes his view of efforts to monitor radon in the workplace.

What are your impressions since the law came in?

Unfortunately, knowledge of radon is generally low. I’d also say that a great many of Sweden’s employers are unaware what the new law means. Essentially, it’s about a health issue and about employees not being exposed to radon levels above the hygienic limit value. After almost half a year, you might think it’s time to take the law seriously.

Another observation is that when companies contact us and we describe how radon is monitored, the response is often, “That’s simple, we should have done this earlier.”

Monitoring radon properly from the offset gives both the employer and employees the peace of mind of knowing what the radon levels are at work. If you carry out proper monitoring and it turns out that the limit value is being exceeded, it’s simpler and less costly to take the right action.

How do we monitor radon in workplaces and what should we be considering?

Basically, it’s easy to monitor radon. You order radon detectors, deploy them, record data, collect the detectors and send them to the radon laboratory, which will return a report by e-mail or online. However, there are several aspects to consider, such as how many radon detectors are needed for reliable monitoring? Another question is how can the work be done as efficiently as possible? The biggest cost of radon monitoring is the time it takes to deploy the detectors, record the data and then retrieve them again. This is vital for ensuring efficiency and safety in all stages of the process.

Real estate companies that carry out monitoring in, say, shopping malls, are one example of an efficient approach. It’s an added value for the tenants if radon monitoring takes place in each store without the tenants having to carry out their own monitoring. If the real estate company carries out the monitoring with, say Radonova, they have full control and avoid a situation arising later on where individual premises have elevated radon levels.

How many radon detectors are needed to monitor radon in the workplace?

For radon monitoring in the workplace, we recommend following the guidelines from IRMA (the International Radon Measurement Association). You will then meet your national requirements as well. The advantage of IRMA’s guidelines is that their recommended measurement procedure helps to save time.

Are there any common misconceptions about monitoring in the workplace?

One common misconception is that it’s sufficient to carry out monitoring in one in every five rooms or use one detector per 500 m³ in large premises. The information can be found in the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority’s method descriptio. But it also says that monitoring should be carried out where there are suspected high radon levels. Also in rooms that have or are adjacent to pipework, which can increase the risk of high radon levels. In principle, this means that monitoring should take place in all rooms where employees spend more than four hours a week.

Radonova is a world leader in radon monitoring. Describe why you’ll be a leader in this market, too…

We offer safe, accredited monitoring methods and our products can be used in public environments. We also offer the fastest delivery and shortest analysis times on the market. Radonova has invested heavily in user-friendliness where companies that carry out radon monitoring simply record data about deployment and the monitoring dates. The results of the analysis are also easily accessible via our web application. All of the stages of our process are efficient and safe. Also the work and time taken to carry out monitoring is minimised.

 

Read more about radon monitoring in the workplace here»
https://radonova.co.uk/workplaces-and-premises/

For further information on radon monitoring in the workplace, please contact Johan Olsson, phone: +46 (0)18-56 88 00, e-mail: johan.olsson@radonova.com

How do you measure radon?

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Radon is a so-called “inert” gas that is also radioactive. In other words it emits ionising radiation. If people suffer excessive exposure to this radiation in their workplace or at home, it can lead to cell damage and therefore to cancer. It is estimated that up to 14% of all cases of lung cancer in the world are caused by radon. measurements are crucial.

Radon comes from the ground

Radon occurs naturally in the ground since it comes from uranium that decays. Buildings that have basements and that are otherwise in direct contact with the ground are most affected by radon.

Radon is measured using boxes

Radon is normally measured using what are referred to as “radon boxes”. These are small boxes that you place around the home or in the workplace for a certain period of time. This is to see the specific radon value in the specific rooms where the measurement is being carried out.

This means that it is best to place radon boxes in rooms where you spend a lot of time such as bedrooms and living rooms. In rooms in which you or people around you spend the most time, it may be worth placing two boxes in different parts of the room to obtain the most accurate measurement possible.

Quick measurement or long-term measurements

There are two different types of boxes that you can use for radon measurement. The first of these is the box that carries out long-term measurement that most people are familiar with. A so-called “long-term measurement” enables you to obtain an average annual value for radon levels in indoor air. It is only possible to carry out long-term measurements of radon during the winter months. This is because people do not ventilate as frequently as in summer, which concentrates the radon and, in turn, provides an optimum measurement. Long-term measurements take approximately two to three months and all you need to do is position the boxes. Then leave them there for the full period before sending them back.

For people who do not have the time required to carry out long-term measurements, there are also boxes that provide a quick measurement. These do not show the average amount of radon in a year, but can provide a quick indication of the property’s approximate exposure to radon. They are suitable for people who want to buy a house or another property. Quick measurements take up to 10 twenty-four hour periods and can be carried out at any time of year.

After the measurement

When the period of time for the selected boxes has ended, you simply send in the boxes. You then receive a full report on the results. This usually takes only one week to send out.

measurements

Ecotrak® – radon measurement in soil

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Radonova launches a new product for safe radon monitoring in soil

Radonova Laboratories is launching a new detector that makes it safer and easier to monitor radon in soil. The new Ecotrak® detector can be used ahead of new builds and property modernisations and provides quick, reliable information on the amount of radon in the soil being tested.

Unlike other commonly used soil detectors, Ecotrak® is covered by international comparative tests. The detector is supplied in a Tyvek bag, which protects against moisture, dirt and other factors that could affect the result.

Ecotrak®

Ecotrak® does not have to be returned for immediate analysis, rather it can be collected and stored at stockists for a short period. This enables more streamlined handling and means that detectors from several different monitoring periods can be sent for analysis at the same time.

“Monitoring radon in soil is relatively simple. The challenge is to monitor it in such a way as to provide a reliable result. In part, this means that the product itself has to be high quality. Also able to withstand the stresses that are part and parcel of monitoring in soil. However, it also means using an accredited laboratory that takes part in international tests. This enables us to carry out fact-based comparisons with large amounts of reference data,” says Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

“By launching the new detector, we’re making it simpler and safer than ever to monitor radon in soil. No matter what type of construction is involved, there’s great value in understanding the radon situation. What’s more, in some cases the local building committee requires a study into radon levels before granting building permits. Should monitoring show that the site is what’s termed ‘high risk’, the construction can be made radon-proof from the beginning,” says Oskar Boström, product manager at Radonova Laboratories.

Ground radon in brief

Uranium and radium are the two elements that contribute to the levels of radon gas found in soil. Levels of radon gas can vary widely depending on the type of soil. As a general rule, the airier the soil composition, the higher the level of radon. Conversely, a more compact composition makes it more difficult for the radon to circulate in the soil.

Ecotrak® in brief

  • Covered by stringent international comparative studies
  • Not sensitive to moisture (large amounts of water do, however, affect the results)
  • Supplied in a protective Tyvek bag
  • Can be collected and stored for a short period (for efficient handling of multiple measurements)
  • Monitoring usually takes place over one to seven days
  • Can be used all year round (provided the soil is free of frost)

The recommendation is to use at least three detectors for the first 100 m² of the site where the property or construction will stand. After that it’s a good idea to have at least one extra detector per extra 50 m².

For further information about the new Ecotrak® detector, contact Radonova here

Radon measurement season in full swing

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season

Radonova’s new web application has a completely new and intuitive user interface and gives users secure access to reports, measurement jobs and other data, all updated in real time.

On 1 October the radon measurement season got under way in Sweden. You can actually measure radon all year round, but if you want an annual average for radon levels in your home or workplace, you have to measure them over the course of at least two months during the winter when heating systems are on. In Sweden this is between 1 October and 30 April. In practice, this means you have to start measuring radon levels by the end of February.  

We met up with Oscar Wännerud, who is in charge of the world’s leading radon laboratory. Here Oscar describes the measuring and analysis work carried out during peak season, and talks about how Radonova handles tens of thousands of detectors a month.

In brief, how would you describe your daily work in the lab during peak season?

We are now at the start of the season, so we are working on large volumes of deliveries.

Our automated production of radon detectors has been ramped up, running at top speed, from six in the morning until midnight. This is needed so that over the autumn we can supply 80,000 detectors a month.

In December, the detectors start to come back in, as at that point many customers will have been able to measure over two months. At that time we are still sending out large volumes of detectors. In the spring there are fewer deliveries to be made, as the measurement season is drawing to a close. At that stage the work switches to processing and analysing large volumes of radon measurements. International customers often measure all year round, resulting in a more even flow for these customers. This also means that we run all processes all year round but with varying volumes.

Are all analyses conducted at Radonova’s laboratory in Uppsala?

All radon detectors are manufactured in Uppsala and then distributed across the world. The same applies when customers have completed their measurements. The detectors are sent back to the lab in Uppsala for etching, reading and analysis. This requires reliable, effective and well-functioning procedures and processes for both outgoing deliveries and incoming deliveries of exposed detectors. We need a rational and tightly controlled approach to be able to handle the large volumes we deal with.

Have any new issues or challenges arisen this season?

The work has so far been characterised by increased volumes and rapid delivery times. We are selling more measurement services than ever, yet we have still managed to further reduce delivery times. All so we can give our customers the best possible service.

What do you feel is the recipe for success when it comes to reliability and assurance?

Accreditation is an important base for a monitoring laboratory. We really benefit from being audited by external bodies. Well-established procedures in combination with ongoing improvement work are required for us to be able to remain at the forefront within radon measurement. We are also involved in various international comparative tests in order to ensure that our processes maintain a very high level.

Have you got any general tips for companies or private individuals who are intending to measure radon?

It is simple to measure radon using Radonova’s services. Via “My Pages” you get full control of your data and can easily export it when needed to either PDF reports or Excel files for further processing/statistical purposes. When our customers use My Pages to record data, we get immediate access to the measurement data. This in turn produces quicker analytical results. Another upside to using My Pages is that it minimises the sources of errors, which can easily arise when work is performed on paper and is characterised by multiple manual steps. Via My Pages customers can easily supplement data and get rapid responses.

How do you think things are going to develop in radon measurement?

Automation and digitalisation are the two biggest future trends. The combination of automated processes and customers having increased access through digitalisation will be a crucial success factor. We expect to minimise lead times for outward delivery, but above all we will be reducing the time it takes to perform analyses. I am also convinced that Radonova is ideally positioned to continue as a global leader in the measurement and analysis of radon samples.

 

For further information about radon and radon measurement, visit FAQ