Radon gas is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium found in rocks, sediments and water. It then permeates up through the ground and in open air dilutes to harmless levels in the atmosphere. However, when it enters our homes and work places it decays into minute solid particles known as Radon's Daughters.
These particles then become trapped and can accumulate to dangerously high levels. When they are breathed in they can be deposited on the surface of the lungs, where they decay further, emitting harmful radiation directly into the lungs.
Radon penetration occurs in many thousands of homes in the UK, particularly in the East Midlands and the South West but there are pockets just about everywhere in the country. It is common in and around granite and other igneous rocks where the gas is transferred through the pores in the rock.
It is interesting to note that not all granitic regions are prone to high emissions of radon, Aberdeen, for instance, commonly known as the Granite City, is situated on very radium rich rock. However, the rock lacks the pores/cracks required for the radon to migrate whereas in other radium rich areas, such as Devon and Cornwall, the radon is able to escape from the rock. Whilst Radon permeates up through the ground and dilutes to harmless levels in the atmosphere, it can enter buildings exposing the occupants to a dose of radiation.
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