Düsseldorf/Arnsberg (dpa/lnw) – In the three Sauerland towns of Arnsberg, Sundern and Balve, excessive levels of the radioactive noble gas radon have been measured in some buildings. The Ministry of Health announced on Friday that this affects three schools in Arnsberg and several residential buildings in all three cities. According to the ministry, if the concentration exceeds the legal reference value in your own four walls, at work or in care facilities, there is a need for action. There are many solutions to reducing radon in the air – from regular ventilation to structural measures.

The ministry started a measurement campaign for Arnsberg, Sundern and Balve in 2021. These three cities were previously listed for NRW on a radon prognosis map from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection – with a probability of high levels of the carcinogenic noble gas in buildings. Around 1,450 private households in NRW and 49 schools and kindergartens took advantage of the free radon measurement offer. According to the Düsseldorf Ministry, after twelve months of measurement, the results are now available for 1310 private households.

According to this, only low radon concentrations were measured in most households – around 90 percent of the residential buildings examined. However, the legal reference value was exceeded in a smaller proportion. The three municipal schools in Arnsberg would also have to introduce reduction measures. All participating households, schools and daycare centers would have received their measurement results and, if necessary, recommendations for action. Radon is a radioactive noble gas that occurs naturally in the soil and is found in the ambient air. Radon can get into the building directly from the ground and accumulate there unnoticed through leaks in the foundation or basement walls, as well as through cable and pipe penetrations, the ministry explained. “If radon accumulates in living rooms, the risk of lung cancer can increase in the long term.” The concentration is different in every building, depending on the building structure, ventilation or use of the premises.