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The radioactivity

 

The earth contains radioactive elements that, during their degradation, produce alpha, beta and gamma (alpha, beta, gamma) rays:

 

Radioactivity

 

Description

Penetrability

Solution

Impact on cells

alpha

Helium nucleus

= 2 protons
+ 2 neutrons

 

Very Low

Paper

sheet

mortality

beta

Electrons

Low

Aluminium

sheet

mortality ; less dangerous than alpha but more penetrable

 

gamma

Rays of

high energy

Very High

22cm

thick lead

 plate

Formation of free radicals and rupture of molecules via electron stripping

 

The alpha rays are emitted by radon, a natural, odourless and colourless radioactive gas that is dangerous when the radioactivity is higher than 148 becquerels/m3. It is more concentrated in the volcanic and granitic undergrounds and above water veins and earth breaks. Since it quickly disintegrates in contact with air, it is recommended to fully ventilate the rooms a quarter of an hour, every morning and every evening.

 

According to EPA, radon 222 would provoke 15% of the lung cancers, 3d pollution source, just after the automobile (diesel), the active and passive tabac. The risks of leukaemia are also cited. In 1990, the E.E.C. has ratified 2 limits :

  • 400 Bq/m3 for the existing buildings
  • 200 Bq/m3 for the new buildings

 

The beta rays release electrons that, when reaching the earth surface, create a negative potential around it. These electrons immediately react with oxygen molecules (O2), consequently building  Negative Air Ions  (O2-), indispensable to all living organisms.

 

The gamma rays flow through passages of lower resistance, such as water veins and earth breaks, in order to reach the earth surface. Regarding their impact on human health, they provoke free radical release of and molecule rupture. They can, for instance, kill the ovules when entering the ovaries. A typical sign is the swelling of the thyroid gland. A prolonged exposition can lead to cancer.

 

 

© 2008 Air Quality Concept