The health dangers of radon gas, the invisible killer in Spain

High levels of radon gas have been found in at least six municipalities of Sevilla

Radon gas is listed in the periodic table, with the atomic number 86. It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas. According to studies carried out in the United States, radon gas is not so ‘noble’, and under its radioactive character, it hides some dangers to health.

Recently the Nuclear Safety Council of Spain has warned of high levels of radon gas found in at least six municipalities of Sevilla, especially in the Sierra Norte area. As the experts explained, radon is produced by a natural decay of the radioactive chemical elements uranium and thorium, which are found in almost all soils.

Generally, radon gas moves through the ground and enters and accumulates in homes through cracks in floors, walls, and foundations, and can affect homes up to three-floors high. In the US, it is estimated that about 1 in 15 homes has elevated radon levels.

Radon gas is capable of decomposing easily, emitting small radioactive particles that end up affecting the lungs when breathing, increasing the risk of developing lung cancer. In the US, several studies indicate that exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and the leading cause among people who have never smoked.

map of radon gas presence in Spain
Image: the Nuclear Safety Council of Spain

Between 15,000 and 22,000 deaths that occur in America each year have been attributed to radon gas exposure, according to scientists. In Spain, experts attribute more than 1,500 deaths a year to radon gas.
There is no such thing as a safe level of radon in the home, as its effects from being exposed accumulate over time. This means that diseases can take many years to show up. Simple and inexpensive tests can be carried out that take only a few minutes to complete, which can help homeowners take the necessary steps to reduce radon levels.
This process is called radon mitigation, a technique that sometimes can almost completely reduces the presence of radon in the home, as reported by diariodesevilla.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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