Romanian scientists develop system to detect radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer

Romanian scientists have developed a system to find a solution to treat radon gas, which is considered the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

Researchers at the Environmental Engineering Faculty at Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj won a European grant of 2 million euros which they used to develop radon detectors and a manual of best practices,  reported.

Radon gas

Because you can’t see, smell, or taste radon gas, it is easy to ignore the risk it carries.

It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above housing and seeps into buildings through cracks and other holes in the foundation.

Houses trap radon inside, where it can build up. Inside buildings, the air pressure tends to be lower than outside, so radon is drawn through the gaps in the floor.

We used the two million euros to develop some pilot technologies and a manual of good practices,” said Alexandra Cucos, an engineer and project manager told

The Smart Radon is a radon detector which is developed in tandem with Tesla in the Czech Republic.

Indoor air quality

„With this prototype we managed to get a complete x-ray of indoor air quality,” she said of the four-year project, explaining how the invention works.

The central unit incorporates the 6 sensors, with radon – 7. The device takes all the information transmitted from these sensors, which have a high degree of accuracy. It was tested on 1,000 homes.

The device basically provides a full assessment of indoor air quality, with remote data transmission. The owner can view them on a computer or through an application.


“There is also a screen, we have created some levels of risk, depending on the colors: green, below the risk threshold, yellow – a moderate area, red – representing a considerable risk to health,” she said.

There are currently 100 households using the devices. Out of those, ten have the full option, the complete solution which includes a remediation system,” she said.

There were no figures immediately available about the number of deaths caused by radon.

Lung cancer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates it is the leading cause of death from lung cancer among non-smokers.

Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the U.S. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies radon as a carcinogen because it can get into the air and increase the risk of lung cancer.


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