"10% of houses in Gran Canaria could have higher concentrations of radon gas (Rn-222) to the limit of 300 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq / m3)", revealed yesterday the Director of the Department of Physics of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), Jesús García Rubiano, during a technical conference on a chemical element that originates in the natural disintegration of the radio and is considered part of the usual radioactivity of the environment.
However, García Rubiano, also a member of the Research Group on Radiation-Matter Interaction (Girma-Iunat), reassured the island population by underlining that "99% of the time is enough to ventilate the house. If even then an excess is detected three or four months later, it is convenient to install a forced ventilation system from the outside, not too expensive, to avoid radon from the floor going to the house ", added the co-director of the meeting with Juan Carlos Santamarta Cerezal, from the University of La Laguna.
With the title An invisible enemy for health, the day on Rn-222 disseminated the latest data on its presence in soil, rocks and building materials of the province of Las Palmas collected by Dr. Héctor Alonso Hernández for his thesis, whose results corroborate the reliability of previous maps prepared by geological and radiological studies by both the ULPGC and the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN). "Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are not radon-prone areas, does not mean that there is not, but it is unlikely, while Gran Canaria, from one third to almost half of the island in its central part, yes it is, as may be other granitic areas of Spain, "explained Dr. Garcia after placing "the highest proportion of housing above 300 Bq / m3 in Artenara, Tejeda, San Mateo and San Bartolomé de Tirajana".
Even so, "the values are not alarming, as it usually happens in more uraniferous areas, but you have to lower those levels, obviously ", completed director of the Radon Group of the University of Cantabria, Luis Quindós Poncela, speaker at the conference with a talk on thirty years of research and future prospects In his opinion, "the measurements and maps that delimit the hot zones have already been made, so it is necessary to continue to identify them better and prevent the presence of this gas in new constructions".
Not in vain, the transposition of a European Union directive requires member states to measure the levels of Rn-222 in residential buildings this year, in addition to the previous requirement for work centers and public dependencies, although Spain has not yet approved the new building technical code and the associated regulation for radiation protection. "We all wait expectantly for the new regulations, hopefully it will come out as soon as possible because it will be easier", confided Dr. Quindós before observing a "important sensitivity" on radon in the Canary Islands.
In his opinion, "there are already laboratories ready to take measures and the regional administration is supporting, but the important thing is that it continues to do so, these people [de la ULPGC] It did not start yesterday, it has been working for a few years and has sufficient means and knowledge, and they are young and collaborate with external groups not only in Spain but throughout Europe, a very important contact. "The director of Physics on campus was also optimistic of Tafira to observe that "administrations are beginning to take an interest and react, they already finance projects to know the situation in each municipality. "
The Physics Department of the ULPGC has, as recalled from the academic institution, a database of radon measurement in Gran Canaria that is considered essential for compliance with regulatory control required by the EU, since soil gas can penetrate the buildings through cracks in the foundations or walls and gaps, even by the plumbing of bathrooms and kitchens or the enclosures in contact with the ground.