Radon levels in homes and workplaces are to be mapped and efforts are being made to ensure that all homes in the long term meet the target of a radon content of up to 200 Bq / m3. These are some of the proposals in the National Action Plan for Radon, jointly prepared by seven government agencies.
The Radiation Safety Authority estimates that radon in indoor air causes around 500 lung cancer cases each year in Sweden. To reduce people’s exposure to radon, action is required. This has also been noted in the EU and in a radiation protection directive there is a requirement that each member state establish a national action plan for radon.
The Radiation Safety Authority has, together with the Swedish Work Environment Authority, the National Board of Housing, the National Board of Public Health, the Swedish Food Administration, the Swedish Geological Survey and Swedac developed a national action plan to address the long-term risks of exposure to radon.
The action plan proposes, among other things
- formalized cooperation on radon between the relevant authorities, under the direction of the Radiation Safety Authority, with the task of planning and following up efforts to implement the strategies and activities that the action plan addresses
- that a radon campaign is being implemented as part of long-term communication efforts to get more people to measure radon and to take measures to reduce radon levels
- that the authorities’ information about radon is coordinated so that comprehensive information is readily available
- that the authorities should work to ensure that all homes meet the target of a radon content of up to 200 Bq / m 3 in the long term .
“We are several authorities with different responsibilities in the radon issue, with the joint NAP, we can focus more heavily on the issue and together reduce the risk of people being injured as a result of radon exposure,” said Mats Persson, Director General of the Radiation Safety Authority.
Radon at workplaces and limit values
The Work Environment Authority has previously had all the responsibilities for radon at workplaces. Due to the new requirements for radon in the directive, the supervisory responsibility will be shared between the Work Environment Authority and the Radiation Safety Authority. The Work Environment Authority will continue to have the basic supervisory responsibility for radon at workplaces where measurement of radon content has not yet been made. Radone exposure limits are given by the Work Environment Authority.
The Work Environment Authority uses three hygienic limits for radon exposure. What limit value applies depends on whether workers are exposed to 1) above ground land, 2) completed and underground storage space underground or 3) other underground work, such as mines. The magnitude of radon exposure is defined as the product of radon content and residence time. This means that radon exposure can be reduced both by measures to reduce radon levels in existing spaces or by reducing residence time.