- What are electromagnetic fields?
- Static and low-frequency fields
- What are static and low-frequency electric and magnetic fields?
- Direct and alternating voltage
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- What are high-frequency fields?
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- UV radiation
- What is UV radiation?
- Sun but safe!
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- What is ionising radiation?
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- Air, soil and water
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What is radon?
- Radon occurs everywhere in the environment. It forms in the ground as a result of the radioactive decay of natural uranium which is present in many rocks in the ground.
- Radon is a very mobile, radioactive noble gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted.
- According to recent findings, five to ten per cent of the lung cancer cases in the German population can be attributed to the exposure to radon in buildings. Thus, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Radon is a very mobile, radioactive noble gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. Radon is released from all materials containing uranium. It occurs everywhere in the world.
Radon as part of the uranium-238 decay chain
- Uranium-235 (uranium-actinium chain)
- Thorium-232 (thorium chain), and
- Uranium-238 (uranium-radium chain).
Exposure to radon
Radon is a radioactive element. The nucleus of radioactive elements is instable and decays. During this decay radiation is formed.
Short-lived radon decay products are isotopes of polonium, bismuth, and lead. These are also radioactive and have a very short half-life. Their nuclei decay within only a few minutes, emitting alpha radiation that may damage human tissue.
The radioactive radon decay products accumulate in aerosols (very fine particles in the air), which are inhaled. When the radon decay products decay in the lung, they emanate radiation. This radiation can damage cells in the lung tissue, thus causing lung cancer.
Radon risk in buildings
According to recent findings, five to ten per cent of the lung cancer cases in the German population are caused by the exposure to radon in buildings. Thus, radon is – second to smoking - the leading cause of lung cancer.
State of 2018.11.21