What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas which is recognized to be carcinogenic. It is formed in the Earth’s crust and exists in most of the geological structures. Radon surrounds everyone of us as part of the air we breathe.
Radon is now one of the common indoor air pollutants listed by the Hong Kong Indoor Air Quality Information Centre.
Why is Radon there?
The rocks and soil beneath our homes contain traces of uranium. Over time, the uranium breaks down and forms other elements. This is called radioactive decay. Radon is one link in the decay chain of uranium. When radon gas decays, it emits radioactive radiation in the form of a particle, and release to our air environment.
Radon can get into the basement, ground floor or flats on higher level of a building through the cracks and gaps on the wall, floor or on the ground.
How does Radon affect us?
Scientific research has shown as children have higher breathing rate and faster cell division rate, radon is more harmful to children.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, concentrated radon will cause adverse effects to body blood cells. The death rate of poisoning caused by radon is 100 times higher than that caused by carbon monoxide. Approximately 21,000 people die from radon-related lung cancer every year in the United States alone.
How can we reduce radon gas?
Radon will occur naturally. Continuous air quality monitoring and improving indoor air quality is the best way to reduce radon gas concentration.
Most of the health organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, set 4 pCi/l as the “acceptable level” for radon.
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Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong
Telephone: (852) 2116 8376
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