Radon and indoor air quality

IMPACT OF RADON ON INDOOR AIR QUALITY.

ASANTEWAA BEATRICE
ASANTEWAA BEATRICE

When we talk of clean air, we normally think of the fresh air that comes from the forest, plants, and the cool wind that we feel sometimes when the wind blows. Many people in the world including you only think that quality air is the one we experience outdoor. And when bad air is mentioned we tune our minds to the smog that comes from the factories, fumes from the exhaust of vehicles, and the smoke from burning materials such as the one from burning car tires.

Mostly, we talk more about outdoor air quality but in reality, we as human beings spend about 85 percent of our time indoors. hence, air quality should be our major concern and it should be given firsthand treatment.

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INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Indoor air quality is the quality of the air within the confines of your building and around it as well. Indoor air quality affects our health comfort and the general well-being of people living in the building.‌‌

RADON

Radon is one of the most important pollutants of indoor air quality.‌‌ Radon is a radioactive gas that naturally occurs in different forms known as isotopes.  Radon has two decay chains which make it occur in the Uranium and thorium. They can also occur in rocks, water, and air.‌‌Radon is an inert gas that makes it tastes odorless and it's indistinguishable to the human senses. Radon does not have any commercial use. It is the main cause of carcinogenic diseases in poorly ventilated places such as our homes, offices, and schools.

SOURCES OF RADON

Soil gas‌‌

Building materials‌‌

Tap water‌‌

Gas appliances‌‌

Stoves and ovens‌‌

Heaters‌‌

The natural we use has been previously extracted from underground which has been in contact with uranium and thorium. This means that natural gas contains radon, so anytime we burn our gas to cook food in our homes we release radon into the breathing air that can pollute the indoor air quality.‌‌

Within the framework of scientific study and analysis model for radon concentration in homes had been concluded that the infiltration of soil gas into the homes is the major contributor to indoor pollution.

Regions, where water supplies are drawn from underground sources, will also have a high risk of radon indoor air pollution in the homes. Especially when the water is taken from the aquifers in granite rocks and other radium strata of the components of the rock.‌‌

Building materials that are used in the construction of schools, and offices can also be a significant source of radon for tightly built homes.‌‌

Mostly, old buildings also release radon as cracks in the floor and walls and it can serve as a passage for radon into the house.‌‌

Who has a higher risk of radon?

Those who smoke tobacco have a higher chance of being getting health complications as radon is one of the main chemicals found in tobacco.

According to a recent survey in the United State, approximately more than 23,200 tobacco smokers are at risk of lung cancer. And it is estimated that in every 63 percent of every thousand smokers are suffering from lung cancer.

Second-hand smokers

These are people who don't smoke but are exposed to the radon from those who smoke. Studies show that this person even has a higher level of risk than those even smoking tobacco. They may suffer from lung cancers which might even result in death.

Uranium Miners

Those who mine uranium also have a high risk of radon exposure because of their consistent exposure to the radon. Miners can suffer from high mortality from coronary diseases.‌‌

EXPOSURE ROUTES OF RADON.

Inhalation

Radon in the air can be inhaled into the body which might impose a serious health risk on the individual. when there to much dust in any area the persons living are more likely to inhale the dust particles into their system which is more likely to cause serious health problems to their lungs.

Ingestion‌‌

This is when radon enters your body orally. This can happen when radon is dissolved in water as most of the water is comes from radium-bearing rocks. An individual who drinks this radon water might face some health problems. It can result in the person getting stomach cancer.

Dermal exposure‌‌

Radon is a noble gas and can diffuse into the skin without the involvement of any active transport.‌‌With all these exposure routes, children and old persons are more sensitive to the effects of radon as they stand a tenfold chance of getting carcinogenic diseases.

The impact of radon on your health‌‌

Constant chest pain‌‌

Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.

It can trigger other lung infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.‌‌

It can lead to coughing up in the blood‌‌.

It causes a consistent cough which does not go away but always increases the impact.‌‌

Lung Cancer‌‌;  radon usually damages the cells of your lungs by releasing radiation which damages your lungs in no time hence causing lung cancer.‌‌

THE EFFECT OF RADON ON THE ENVIRONMENT.

Even though radon occurs naturally in the environment. Most human activities like the burning of coal, mining of uranium, and phosphate release a chunk of radon into the atmosphere.

This causes the radon to mix with the dust and other particles in the environment which can easily be inhaled by people or even enter our homes.

The radon may also move downward and enter into our groundwater storage. But on most occasions, the radon will just remain in the soil.

Control of radon in the home

Always increase the flow of air into your room by opening windows and using fans to ensure maximum ventilation

Seal all cracks in the floor of the house and on the walls around the house. As this serves as the source of radon.

The use of air purifiers at home and offices‌‌.

We should always follow the manufacturer's guidelines to reduce the risk of radon exposure.‌‌

Installing radon sump systems on the floor of the basement.‌‌

Improving ventilation in the building in the area of energy conservation.

REFERENCES

Journal of air pollution and control Retrieved from
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00022470.1983.10465550

Agency for toxic substances and disease registry
https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/radon/who_risk.html

Environmental Science

ASANTEWAA BEATRICE

I am an artless lady who seeks to improve the health care of children in deprived areas with little knowledge l have. I love to write, motivate, and inspire people with academic challenges.