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Radon map of Germany: does it affect me?

How high is the radon concentration where I live? What can I do if I live in a radon risk area? And how is radon measured anyway? Ronnie Radon and radon expert Karin Leicht provide explanations.

The radioactive noble gas occurs in concentrations that differ from one region to the next. The radon map of Germany published by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) in 2004 shows the areas in which there are increased radon levels.

This is based on very approximate grid measurements of the radon concentration in the soil air as well as in building interiors and outdoors. Although radon blends with the air outdoors, it can still be detected at ground level. Higher concentrations of radon are particularly noticeable in the mountainous regions of Germany.

What is more, radon levels vary not just regionally but also on a seasonal basis. According to radon expert Karin Leicht, radon concentration levels can differ between seasons and also from one year to the next. The results of soil air measurements therefore only provide a rough guideline, so the focus ought to be on the specific building in question. After all, radon exposure inside the building can deviate significantly from that of the soil air.

There are various freely available exposimeters for measuring radon concentrations. They cost from approximately EUR 35. Measurement of radon levels should be carried out over a period of one year in order to obtain representative results, as required by the new Radiation Protection Act. However, the expert says that measurements over a three-month period can already provide an initial indication. The device is set up in the room and is simply left there without any further need for action. Radon experts such as Ms. Leicht can help determine the correct position of the exposimeter. Radon levels should always be measured in rooms where people can be expected to spend time such as bedrooms, the living room and kitchen.

Radon experts such as Ms. Leicht can advise you in the event of measurements above the reference level of 300 Bq/m³.

In the next part of our radon series you can find out how to seal new buildings correctly and also which radon-proof entries are recommended by Ms. Leicht and Ronnie Radon.

(Sources: Interview with Ms. Karin Leicht on 04.12.2018 and Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz)