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National Home Radon Testing Project
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National Home Radon Testing Project

The nationwide home radon testing project has commenced in Alborz Province and will soon be extended to all regions, said Ali Gourani, head of Health Ministry’s Department of Radiation.
Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless, chemical element which occurs naturally as a decay product of uranium (while changing into lead), and is found in nearly all soils.
According to reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, Gourani told IRNA.
Outside, radon quickly dilutes to safe levels, but when trapped inside a home it can build up to high levels and, over time, may cause long-term health problems. It is also not distributed evenly in nature and can accumulate in certain regions or be scarce in others.
It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into homes through cracks and holes in the foundation, or in a less likely scenario, enters the water supply. Any home may have a radon problem; this includes new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
“People are threatened by the noble gas in cold seasons when doors and windows are shut or when living at lower altitudes close to earth like basements,” Gourani observed.

 Exposure
The project aims to verify the level of radon Iranians are exposed to and the measures that need to be taken to reduce it. Defined and binding on a global scale, radon containment projects have been implemented in a number of countries such as Canada, Britain and America.
The first step is to have an estimate of average radon levels in different regions according to which action plans will be adopted, he said.
“Proactive measures will include interventions in housing constructions by determining the material as well as water supply testing and treatment.” The project will be carried out every six months in warm and cold seasons.
There are a number of short-term and long-term methods for testing homes for radon levels. Under the project, a laminated gypsum board is placed in every home for a period of six months after which it is examined for radon levels.
Several proven methods also exist to reduce radon in homes, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which draws radon from beneath the house and releases it outside. This system, known as soil suction radon reduction, does not require major structural changes to install in homes.
Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes the system effective as well as cost-efficient. The right system depends on the home design and other factors.
Stating that the project is expensive and time-consuming, he urged people to cooperate in conducting the testing procedures properly.

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