Radon Surveys

Baseline Radon Gas Measurements for Mine Sites and Other Industrial and Underground Workplaces in Finland

Radon is an odorless, colourless, and tasteless radioactive gas produced by the natural decay of radioactive minerals contained within the soils and rock materials. The ultimate source of radon is uranium, which occurs usually at very low levels in most rocks and soils. Because it is a gas, the concentrations of radon and its daughter products are not constant at any one location and are controlled in a complex manner by, for example, the amount and direction of air flow, external air pressure and the season.

Radon gas contents are typically elevated in some geological formations containing anomalous amounts of uranium, like in granite-dominated bedrock areas, but also in hard-rock mines. In fact, all underground mines have higher radon levels than those found in surface air (Archer, 1988). Wherever hazardous amounts of radon gas occur, radon can accumulate in structures in buildings and enter the lungs with the potential to emit alpha particles that cause lung cancer.

Radon gas testing is used to verify levels of radon gas at a workplace. Radon surveys must be conducted in all buildings, basements or underground working sites where the location and characteristics suggest that elevated levels may be found and significant exposures to employees and/or other persons are possible. Underground workplaces, like mines and caves, often have significant levels of radon gas as the ventilation is usually even worse or more difficult to arrange than in those above-ground workplaces located in radon-active areas. Moreover, radon concentrations in adjacent buildings, even adjoining ones, can differ by as much as a factor of ten (for reasons including local geology or building design and construction), so measurement results from neighbouring properties are not reliable indicators.

The radon gas levels reflect the underlying geology and/or the construction style of a building. Muon Solutions is able to commence radon gas tests in May 2018. We provide documentation in Finnish and English.

 


Read more:

Archer, V.E., 1988. Lung cancer risks of underground miners: cohort and case-control studies. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 61, 183–193. (PDF)

Santos, T.O., Rocha, Z., Gouvea, V.A., Cruz, P., Siqueira, J.B., de Araujo, G.B.D. & Oliveira, A.H., 2013. Assessment of radon and its progeny concentration in Brazilian underground mines. 2013 International Nuclear Atlantic Conference – INAC 2013. Recife, PE, Brazil, November 24-29, 2013. (PDF)

Schubauer-Berigan, M.K., 2017. Cancer risk from radon exposures in mines: new research on an old problem (PDF)