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Christine Bolster

Ecotrak® – radon measurement in soil

By | Measurement, News | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments
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

Why is radon dangerous?

By | Home, Multi occupancy building | No Comments
dangerous

Radon measurement is often carried out when buying houses and properties. But what is radon and why do you need to measure it and why is it dangerous?

Radon is dangerous

Radon is an element with atomic number 86 and chemical symbol Rn. It is a so-called “inert” gas, which means that the element radon does not readily react with other substances. However, radon gas is radioactive and decays naturally. When the radon decays, it emits ionising radiation containing alpha particles.

Ionising radiation

Ionisation removes electrons from an atom by means of radiation. Atoms, which were previously in equilibrium, then become charged ions which are able to react with other atoms or ions. Such reactions can damage and/or alter a DNA molecule and cause mutations or cancer or can kill cells. For that reason, ionising radiation, and therefore radon, is dangerous to humans.

Why are you exposed to radon in a building?

Radon in its normal form exists as a gas. You’d, therefore, presume that airing the building would get the radon out. You can fix some types of radon problem through simple ventilation, but this is not the best solution in many other cases. Unfortunately, the gas fills up constantly if the sourrrounding soil of the  building has a radon content that refills the indoor air.

Radon belongs to one of the natural decay chains, i.e. other radioactive substances decay and form new substances. Uranium and radium, two radioactive elements that exist in certain types of bedrock, are present earlier in this chain. In areas with high uranium levels or radium-rich ground, the risk of so-called “soil radon” will be higher. Radon is particularly common in buildings with basements because the walls are more exposed to the surrounding ground.

Long-term effects and radiation doses

Elevated radon levels in a building can cause an increased risk of cancer, particularly lung cancer. When you live and spend a lot of time in the building, radon can gradually cause harm.  Currently, the recommended radon level is less than 300 Bq m-3 in rooms in which you spend a lot of time (WHO recommends no more than 100 Bq m-3). If the value is higher, you should take action to deal with the radon problem.

Vintage Illuminated Watches, Clocks and Dials Emitting Radon

By | News | No Comments

In the beginning of the 20th century, scientists developed a way to mix “radium 226” with paint. This created ‘radioluminescent paint’. This breakthrough led to the new product being applied to clocks and telephones. Even airplane instrumentation panels (all now considered to be vintage), enabling the devices to glow in the dark.

However the new approach led to unforeseen circumstances. By 1925 a group of radium painters, later referred to as the Radium Girls, sued their employer over health issues. This was believed to be stemming from the ingestion of radium through a practice called ‘pointing’ their brushes. They would lick the ends of the brushes to refine the bristles into a point. Subsequently ingesting radium remnants from the brush. As a result, by 1930 ‘pointing’ brushes was no longer done by mouth and there were no more incidences of malignancy due to radium. This led most people to believe that radium was not a health risk provided you did not consume it.

Sixty years later researchers from the University of Northampton wondered whether since radium decays into radon gas, “vintage” clocks, watches, phones and such items, previously coated in radium paint could influence radon gas levels as the radium naturally decays.

The study was performed in a small bedroom and consisted of measuring the radon gas level for a baseline. Then adding 30 radium dial watches to the room to see how much the radon level would change, if at all. Upon retesting it was discovered that the room’s radon level rose to 134 times the level at which the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) recommends action.

The data from this first study of its kind indicates a previously unconsidered risk. This was from owning, collecting, and storing radium dial watches or other items coated in radium-infused paint.

So keep calm, and think before you go vintage.

Read the Original Article Here
vintage

Acquisition of Gammadata provides Radonova with a Complete Program for Radon Measurement

By | Measurement, News | No Comments

By acquiring the radon measurement instrument division of Gammadata Instruments, Radonova Laboratories has further strengthened its position as a world leader in home and workplace radon measurement. Through the acquisition, Radonova has added several advanced instruments and products to its portfolio. Broadening its range of radon measurement technologies.

By offering a comprehensive program for radon measurement, Radonova is responding to the global demand for safe and efficient radon measurements in homes and workplaces.

“With this acquisition, we get access to leading edge products which are at the absolute forefront of research and development. For example, ATMOS, the world’s most sensitive radon sniffer. We now have an expanded portfolio of instruments and products. We are in a position where we can offer new and existing customers an optimal radon measurement program. Particularly in the rapidly growing European market of workplace radon measurement,” says Radonova Laboratories CEO Karl Nilsson. One of Gammadata’s founders, Dag Sedin, has 30 years of experience in instrument development for radiation measurement. He will take on the role of consultant at Radonova Laboratories. Dag comments on the acquisition:

“As we are now part of Radonova Laboratories, there is enormous potential for intensifying our research to ensure that we continue to deliver the most innovative radon instruments and sensors available on the market. Radonova provides us with a great platform to further develop the new product lines we have in the pipeline. The first of these will be an update to the ATMOS radon sniffer. In addition, Radonova has an established export network that will provide numerous new opportunities for growth when new products are released.”

For more information on radon and radon measurement visit www.radonova.co.uk

For more information, please contact Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories AB Phone: +46 (0)70-639 01 31, E-mail: karl.nilsson@radonova.com

Acquisition

The world’s most sensitive radon sniffer ATMOS is now becoming part of Radonova’s extensive program for radon measurements.

Radon Entry Points – Basement

By | Home, Measurement | No Comments
basement
Below Grade Windows
Sump Pump
Cracks in Foundation Walls
Footing
Cracks in Concrete Slab
Floor Drains
Support Posts

Many homes have basement areas. Whether finished or not there is always a potential for radon to enter your home through the basement. Not all homes will have every radon entry point shown, but the image shows the most common ones. Any one of these entry points could contribute to a high radon gas level in the home.

Testing for radon is the only  way to know if your home has high levels of dangerous radon gas, a class A carcinogen that causes lung cancer.

Test Your Home Today!

Radon can be a health risk in ordinary workplaces

By | Measurement, Okategoriserade, Workplace | No Comments

Workplace radon is a so-called “inert” gas that emits ionising radiation, which means that radon is radioactive. Therefore it is also a potent risk. Ionising radiation can cause damage to cells, which in turn leads to illnesses such as cancer. Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer that can be caused by radon.
Radon gas is an element that can come directly from the ground because radon is created when uranium decays. It therefore exists naturally, which can affect properties that have basements with poor insulation. Or that are otherwise in direct contact with the ground.

How do you know if radon is a health risk in the workplace?

It is easy to measure radon levels in the workplace to see whether the value exceeds the limit above which radon is estimated to be a health risk. If the radon level is above 400 Bq/m³, it could mean that spending too much time in the property entails a direct health risk.

Measuring radon levels is simple and straightforward using radon boxes placed in rooms in which people spend the most time. In the case of homes, they are normally placed in bedrooms and living rooms. In the case of a workplace, it is a question of finding similar places in which people spend a lot of time.

There are two different kinds of radon boxes available: those offering long-term measurement or those offering short-term measurement. Long-term measurement must be carried out during the winter months and needs to last for two to three months to provide the most complete results possible for radon levels in the property. A so-called “annual average value” for the radon levels can be obtained from long-term measurement. There are also boxes that are used to carry out short-term measurements. A measurement with these boxes only takes around 10 twenty-four hour periods. Short-term boxes can be used at any time of year. Nevertheless, the results they give are not as accurate as long-term measurements.

What do you do about high radon levels?

There are a couple of different ways of dealing with high radon levels. One of the most common ways is to simply increase the ventilation to reduce the concentration of radon in the air.

risk

Guide to radon monitoring in the workplace

By | Measurement, Workplace | No Comments
workplace

Under the EU Radiation Protection Directive, 2013/59/Euratom, which entered into force in February 2018, employers must determine the radon concentrations in the workplace and take appropriate measures to address radon levels above the national limit for radon. With the introduction of the new Directive, questions often arise as to how radon monitoring in the workplace should be handled.

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

It is basically easy to measure 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 a reliable measurement. Another question is how the work can be done as efficiently as possible. As the biggest cost of radon measurement is the time it takes to deploy the detectors, record the data, and then retrieve them again, it is vital to ensure efficiency and safety at all stages of the process.

Requirements for radon monitoring in a workplace

To make efficient use of time and arrive at a correct measurement, the person monitoring a workplace should make the following demands of the laboratory where the radon detectors were bought. This applies whether you do the job yourself or use an external consultant. Measurements should be taken with radon detectors from an accredited radon laboratory.

Ensure that:

– the laboratory is accredited according to ISO 17025 for measuring radon in indoor air
– the delivery time for detectors is within 2-3 days of ordering
– the delivery time for electronic analysis reports is within one (1) week of the detectors reaching the laboratory
– the laboratory has a web application which allows measurement details to be entered and results to be downloaded, and

  • measurements to be filtered on e.g. address, property name, order code etc.
  • consolidated reports to be downloaded in PDF format
  • can be used on a tablet or other mobile device in the field.

It is also important to make the radon measurements known to your own staff. Information material on radon and the planned measurements should therefore be distributed before monitoring starts. It is also important to inform the cleaning staff if the service is outsourced. The radon detectors need to be placed securely so they cannot be moved or otherwise interfered with during monitoring (cable ties could be used).

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

For radon measurement in the workplace, Radonova recommends following 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.

The following locations must be included when measuring radon:

– Rooms and locations regularly used for more than four hours per day
– All underground/basement locations or other locations used by anyone for more than 50 hours per year where there is a risk of radon leakage
– Any relevant locations/rooms at basement and ground floor level. In larger spaces, deploy at least one detector per 150 m2.
– On higher floors: At least two detectors, and at least one per 250 m2.

What happens if you are over the reference value?

If it turns out that you are over the reference value, you should start by measuring the radon concentration during working hours (a shorter period). You could do this with Radonova’s Duotrak radon detector, for example. Note: Because work premises are usually ventilated more during working hours, the radon level could be lower at this time.

If the workplace is still over the reference value, you must take steps to reduce the radon level. This is normally done by controlling the ventilation. In these cases, however, we recommend contacting a radon consultant who can investigate where the radon is coming from and suggest appropriate action.

Radonova launches brand-new vacuum packs for radon detectors

By | Measurement, News | No Comments

Radonova are launching a new vacuum packaging solution.

The new packaging enables us to vacuum seal radon detectors during transit which helps us to improve quality even further. This ensures safe transit and analysis can be done without radon leakages. The packaging technique will help prevent damaging effects from external factors on the measurement results.

With radon monitoring it is crucial to be able to seal the detectors to ensure the test results are reliable.

Vacuum packs enable more efficient transport and storage

“In addition to being completely radon-tight, the new vacuum pack is smaller. This means less bulky shipments and more efficient storage. This particularly benefits our distributors and international customers. Of course the new packaging also has environmental benefits as it uses less material. Another advantage with the new packaging technique is that bags damaged in transit can easily be spotted”, explains Radonova’s laboratory manager, Oscar Wännerud.

“We have always used very high quality plastic films but by using our new machine and a more automated process it means we are now taking a further step towards the optimum packaging solution” says Wännerud.

WHO estimates that up to 14% of all lung cancer cases are caused by radon. Find out more about the risks associated with radon and how to measure it here.

Vacuum