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Radon campaign in Helsinki: Radon measurement at a wholesale price

Radon campaign in Helsinki: Radon measurement at a wholesale price

14 Jan 2014 10:00
Press release

Exposure to indoor radon is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. You can only know the radon concentration in your indoor air by measuring it. Helsinki residents can now make a radon measurement cost-efficiently, as the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) and the City of Helsinki have launched a radon campaign. You can order a radon measurement kit from the STUK online store or with an order slip delivered to your home.

Radon is a radioactive, colourless and odourless noble gas. Radon is contained in air in the ground, and it is carried from the ground to dwellings through cracks in building foundations and through porous building materials. The indoor radon concentration should be measured in every single-family, semi-detached, row-house and town-house dwelling, and it is recommended that it is also measured on the lower floors of multi-story buildings.

Residents of Helsinki areas with high numbers of single-family, semi-detached, row and town houses are invited to join a radon measurement campaign, but residents of multi-story buildings should also join. As much as 94 percent of all dwellings in Helsinki that may show dangerous concentrations of radon in indoor air have not been investigated.

“Radon is often seen as a problem of houses, but ground-level apartments of multi-story buildings can feature equally high radon concentrations as houses in the same area,” says STUK researcher Olli Holmgren.
Measurement is easy and only costs some tens of euros

Helsinki residents can now order a radon measurement kit at the campaign price of €33.48 per measurement can (as opposed to the regular price €44.33). A kit can be ordered from the STUK online store (in Finnish) or with a slip delivered to homes on 11 January 2014. An online order should be accompanied by campaign code 2118 and the postal code of the place of measurement, which must be in the campaign area. The offer expires on 16 February 2014 and applies to the first 5,000 kits.

According to instructions issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the measurement is normally made using two cans, but one can is sufficient for small dwellings.

The measurement cans are allowed to stay in place for two months, after which they are returned to STUK by mail in a return envelope. The result of the analysis is reported to the customer by mail within three months. The analysis and report are included in the price of the kit. 

In case of a high radon concentration

In case the radon concentration in indoor air exceeds 400 Becquerels in cubic metre (Bq/m3), STUK recommends mitigation measures to reduce the level of concentration. In case the radon concentration is 200–400 Bq/m3, STUK recommends certain easy-to-implement mitigation measures.

The mitigation measures are determined by the detected level of radon, the properties of the ground under the house or building, possible landfill, building structures and ventilation. The most efficient mitigation method is a radon fan. In some cases, it is sufficient only to improve ventilation.

Without professional help, a radon mitigation project costs an average 500 euros. When professional help is used, the average cost is 2,300 euros.

Building regulations state that a new dwelling should be designed and constructed so that radon does not exceed 200 Bq/m3. A radon concentration higher than this level is considered a design and construction error that should be corrected if the building permit has been issued after 1 April 2004.

Radon mitigation training for residents, builders and authorities

Part of the current radon measurement and mitigation campaign consists of radon mitigation training for residents, businesses, real estate professionals and building authorities. A training event intended for businesses and authorities in particular will be held in Helsinki on 20 March 2014. The event lasts for one workday, from 9–16, and it is free of charge. The place is the STUK auditorium, Laippatie 4, 00880 Helsinki. More information on the event is available here (in Finnish). The event can also be joined by Helsinki residents and others from outside Helsinki.

An evening training event for residents will be held in August 2014. STUK will announce the details at a later date.

Radon campaign

The current radon campaign is the first of its kind in Helsinki. The campaign is part of a national programme organized by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, aimed at reducing incidence of lung cancer caused by radon.

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