Radiation Linked to Contaminated Construction Materials in 80% of Shanghai Homes and Offices

According to Shanghai Daily, a recent investigation by the Shanghai Environmental Protection Industry Association discovered that there is an excessive amount of radiation in approximately four out of five newly renovated homes and offices in Shanghai. Indoor radiation tests were conducted in 117 home and offices across the city; over 90 were found to have exceedingly high amounts of radiation.   While much of recent media concerns have been around contamination from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, the much larger danger of radiation in our homes has largely escaped attention.

The sources of the radiation were found to be emitting from renovation materials that included sanitary fixtures, ceramic tiles, and granite. Various surfaces including wall and floor tiles, bathtubs, sink basins, and toilets were some of the items that tested positive for high levels of radiation.

During the investigation, radiation was detected in approximately 20% of granite, 40% of ceramic tiles, and 70% of sanitary fittings. Radon, a radioactive isotope, is naturally occurring in granite.  Outdoors, the radioactive gas that is released dissipates into the air.  Indoors, however, it can build up to dangerous concentrations.  In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung-cancer in non-smokers.  Interestingly, in the US, the primary source of radon contamination is bedrock and radon in the soil, not construction materials.  The findings of high radon in buildings in Shanghai suggest that there may be less quality control over construction materials.  It’s believed that low-quality granite was used in the homes and offices with high radon readings. In addition to the radioactive granite, radiation was also detected in the glazed surface of ceramic tiles and sanitary fittings. Two radioactive isotopes- Radium and Thorium- were detected in the glaze. Many of the tiles and fittings tested were found to have had too much glaze applied, increasing the radiation exposure and elevating it to excessive levels.

Is there radiation in your Shanghai home or office? There’s a good chance if it’s been recently decorated or renovated. Low-quality materials are far too often used in Shanghai construction. These types of low-quality materials are often not tested through rigorous quality assurance and quality control measures.   Since there is as of yet no industry-wide certification for radon-free materials, those looking to renovate should purchase through reputable construction material companies.

The good news is that construction and renovation materials can be tested for radiation. Radon testing is quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive.  PureLiving is currently running a special for radon testing at 200rmb as part of an air testing package.   Proper ventilation in your home or office will also reduce your exposure to radiation. If you are planning on or have recently completed a home or office renovation, contact us now to ensure that a safe and healthy indoor space. You owe it to your health!

Learn more about radon in our Learning Center section: “Radon — the Invisible Intruder”

Or in a post earlier this year: “January is Radon Action Month”

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