What is Radon: Definition and 32 Discussions

Radon is a chemical element with the symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas. It occurs naturally in minute quantities as an intermediate step in the normal radioactive decay chains through which thorium and uranium slowly decay into lead and various other short-lived radioactive elements. Radon itself is the immediate decay product of radium. Its most stable isotope, 222Rn, has a half-life of only 3.8 days, making it one of the rarest elements. Since thorium and uranium are two of the most common radioactive elements on Earth, while also having three isotopes with half-lives on the order of several billion years, radon will be present on Earth long into the future despite its short half-life. The decay of radon produces many other short-lived nuclides, known as radon daughters, ending at stable isotopes of lead.Unlike all other intermediate elements in the aforementioned decay chains, radon is, under standard conditions, gaseous and easily inhaled, and therefore a health hazard. It is often the single largest contributor to an individual's background radiation dose, but due to local differences in geology, the level of exposure to radon gas differs from place to place. A common source is uranium-containing minerals in the ground, and therefore it accumulates in subterranean areas such as basements. Radon can also occur in some ground water like spring waters and hot springs.Epidemiological studies have shown a clear link between breathing high concentrations of radon and incidence of lung cancer. Radon is a contaminant that affects indoor air quality worldwide. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking, causing 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. While radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, it is the number one cause among non-smokers, according to EPA policy-oriented estimates. Significant uncertainties exist for the health effects of low-dose exposures. Unlike the gaseous radon itself, radon daughters are solids and stick to surfaces, such as airborne dust particles, which can cause lung cancer if inhaled.

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  1. E

    B Radon222 vs 223 exposure at home

    I read 80% of Radon that can get into the house is from U-238 isotope. But how about Radon 223 (from U-235). Does this comprise the remaining 20% that can get into a house? If it doesn't, then what components are the remaining 20%?
  2. Philip Koeck

    Does radon remain inside solid radium?

    When radium atoms inside solid radium turn into radon do they stay in their lattice positions at room temperature or do they diffuse/tunnel to the surface?
  3. U

    Understanding the determination of Radon activity

    When we want to determine the radioactivity of a nucleus, we usually determine the counts detected using say a Geiger counter. The count rate is then usually used as the disintegration rate i.e. the activity of the nucleus. However, say now we wish to measure the activity of Radon 222 using...
  4. G

    B Question about final k.e. of alpha and Polonium after decay of Radon

    Hi community, I've been looking through this question And I have a conceptual if I may (this is not homework I'm a 52 year old programmer just trying to learn and understand). You can calculate the mass loss of 0.006 u when you go from the Radon nucleus to the Polonium and alpha particle. You...
  5. M

    Can I Use a Transformation Matrix to Solve the Radon Transform of a Square?

    Can I attempt this problem using the transformation matrix? I'm not sure how to go about solving this?
  6. CPW

    B Radon testing my first basement (already has a mitigation system)

    Hi PF: The house my wife and I purchased recently is our first one with a basement and it already has a radon mitigation system installed. Unfinished basement. I've sent my short-term test to the lab and I have a long-term test that I intend to start this week. Do any PF members have any...
  7. I

    Weird readings of a Geiger counter in my basement

    Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum, so I hope my question fits into this category. Yesterday I wanted to check if I could measure any radiation from Radon in my basement with my Radiascan-701 Geiger counter which features a pancake-style probe that should be able to handle alpha, beta and...
  8. S

    I How accurate are radon detectors?

    I was looking online at detectors in the $150-$200 range, queried a seller's website, asked how the electrons or helium nuclei (aka alpha particles) from radon could be discriminated from other sources. The reply: "Rn222 is the only thing the monitor measures and it is relatively unaffected by...
  9. AndresPB

    I Help with a Reference Level of Radon in Water

    Guys, I'm keep searching for a WHO standard of Radon of Water in Bq/m3 but I can't find one. Can anyone help me find some references of maximun contamination level of Radon in Water? It may be EPA, or something else too. Thanks a lot
  10. S

    Is My Friend's Basement Safe from Radon Exposure?

    Hi, my friend near me, has a basement and we are located in a part of our country that is NOT KNOWN if it has high soil radon concentrations. However our area is not listed in the high concentrations areas. His basement floor is about 3 meters from top ground and has reinforced concrete walls...
  11. H

    Radionuclides of radon and thoron

    what is the difference between Bq/m3 and Bq/Kg/h. can the exhaltion rate of radon and thoron for the sediments can can be in the units of Bq/Kg/h.
  12. gjonesy

    Passive smoking versus Radon gas attributed deaths

    I got into a discussion with a friend about the risk of second hand smoke, so I did some research and found the statistical data that is some what puzzling. according to what I have read passive smoke kills 7,000 people each year. Radon gas is responsible for 21,000 deaths per year. There are...
  13. radonbc

    Radon 222 What is really going on?

    Are the Alpha particles in the Rn 222 decay process actually new particles or something like Helium atoms with the electrons knocked off.
  14. radonbc

    Understanding Alpha Particle Generation in Radon Decay

    Wow, tons of dedicated geeky geniuses. Hoping for answers on the finer points of Radon physics. Are the Alpha particles generated by Rn 222 decay actually new particles or some existing helium atoms with the electrons knocked off...or something else?
  15. Kyle Burris

    Mechanical noise - A/C and radon fan standing wave hum

    Hello, I am moving into a new house, remodeling, etc. & am installing a new A/C compressor and radon fan. Being that low frequency noise highly bothers me & affects my insomnia quite a bit, I am trying to look at all considerations regarding acoustics, mechanical sound propagation properties...
  16. F

    Radon transform, Buffon's needle and Integral geometry

    In all the literature that I have seen it is mentioned that these two are "branches" of integral geometry, but no where I can see the exact connection since one is connected with probability and the other is an integral. I have seen this, but it is not clear...
  17. 9

    Why is radon in houses still dangerous?

    1. I've been wondering about this a lot. It's about the health risks of radon in houses, since radon has a half-life of 3.8 days, and most radon houses(at least where I live(sweden)) were built it the sixties, how come it's still such a big problem? Shouldn't the radon have decayed by now? I...
  18. A

    Electromagnetizm -> Radon ionization -> Temperature increase?

    I have read somewhere that electromagnetic waves would ionize radon and that would lead to air temperature increase as air contains radon particles. Do you think this is true?
  19. R

    Concentration of Radon in atoms per cubic meter

    Homework Statement i) The average concentration of 222Rn in air inside a building is 20Bqm-3; what is the average concentration of Rn in atoms per cubic meter? ii) In a sealed room of volume 50m3 what activity of 238U in a piece of porous rock would eventually give rise to this 222Rn...
  20. F

    How Does Radon-222 Impact Indoor Air Quality?

    Radioactivity of Radon 222! Homework Statement Uranium is naturally present in rock and soil. At one step in its series of radioactive decays, Uranium produces the chemically inert gas radon-222, with a half-life of 3.82 days. The radon seeps out of the ground to mix into the atmosphere...
  21. E

    Radon Gas & Radium 226: Health Effects & Decay

    Hi, quick question. This website... http://www.oasisllc.com/abgx/radioactivity.htm says "Radon, the gas produced by the decay of radium-226, also emits alpha particles" Does this mean that it is actually radium 226 which is the dangerous gas which killed the silver miners and...
  22. C

    Calculating the concentration of radon?

    Hello people, I'm needing help in calculating data or treating the data. I get measures of counts vs channel, using a silicon detector for detecting radon progeny. These peaks are Po218 and Po214, now how obtain or how understand... obtaining the concentration of radon...
  23. C

    Radon: Explaining Cumulative Exposure Risk

    I have noticed that whenever the topic of radon comes up there are two probable reactions: 1. IQ quenching panic. Generally exhibited by members of the public at large. 2. Discussion quenching disgust. Most commonly displayed by devotees of the hard sciences. (Sometimes accompanied by...
  24. X

    Free energy from Thorium to Radon

    228 224 4 Th --> Ra + He 90 88 2228,031015u --> 224,020186u + 4,0026033u 228,031015u - [224,020186u + 4,0026033u]= 0,0082257u 0,0082257u x 931.49 MeV = 7662157,293eV 7662157,293eV x...
  25. A

    Finding a Seq. of Complex Radon Measures on R that Tends to 0 Vaguely

    Problem Find an example of a sequence (mn) of complex Radon measures on R that tends to 0 vaguely such that for some bounded measurable function g with compact support, \int g\, dm_n \not\to 0. Definitions and facts . complex measures are finite . Radon measures are only defined on Borel sets...
  26. C

    Permeability of various material to Radon gas

    Has anybody done testing on how well various materials can prevent the passage of Radon gas? For example, a container made of thin low density plastic will apparently gradually permeate out Radon, but a high density plastic container will not. Other materials I have in mind are rubber...
  27. M

    Radon Emission from Uranium Deposits

    From what I hear Uranium miners are constantly under threat from radiation gas which is released from Uranium mines. What I learned before is that there are 3 types of radiation. Alpha (helium), Beta (electrons), and gamma (photons). What kind of radiation releases radon gas. If its not...
  28. tandoorichicken

    MATLAB Matlab: inverse Radon transform

    Hopefully someone know image processing toolbox well enough to answer my question! I need to reconstruct an image from a sinogram, and I'm using the iradon(S,theta) function, where S is the sinogram image and theta is either a scalar or vector quantity of projection angles. However, we...
  29. russ_watters

    Radon Test Results: 16.4 pCi/l - How to Reduce High Levels?

    So I got the results of my new townhouse's radon test tonight and it has 16.4 pCi/l - the EPA limit is 4 and the national average is 1.3. I'm not the panicky type so this doesn't upset me much, but I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience with radon. I figure the current owner can...
  30. J

    Calculate volume of radon gas that will be in equilibrium

    question: the mean life of radium(226) is 1600 yrs and that of radon (222) is 3.9 days. calculate volume of radon gas that will be in equilibrium qith 1 gram of radium. what i don't understand is how do i relate volume to this?
  31. B

    Radon Price: What Does "$4/m" Mean?

    Radon price: $4/m ?? I'm doing some research on Radon. I have to put together a PowerPoint presentation that describes its origins, properties, characteristics, etc. (Each student was assigned a different element.) One piece of information I'm required to report on is current price to...
  32. E

    Radon: A Real Threat or Just Hype?

    I remember seeing a lot about this back in the eighties. Then it sort of "went away", I hadn't heard much about it at all over the last 15 or so years. Then today, while watching TV, I saw a commercial for home Radon testing. Just curious, is this a real, serious threat? Or just hype...