Radon is a natural radioactive gas. You cannot see, hear, feel or taste it. It comes from the minute amounts of uranium that occur naturally in all rocks and soils.

Radon is present in all parts of the UK, although the gas disperses outdoors so levels are generally very low.

We all breathe it in throughout our lives - for most UK residents, radon accounts for half of their total annual radiation dosage.

Geological conditions in certain areas can lead to higher than average levels. Some of the highest radon levels have been found in the southwest, but levels well above average have been found in some other parts of the UK. Exposure to particularly high levels of radon may increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has advised that indoor radon above an 'action level' of 200 becquerels per cubic metre should be reduced. Most homes in the UK have fairly low radon levels, with an average of about 20 becquerels per cubic metre.

Small radon detectors can be sent directly to householders by post, and returned at the end of a three month period. Radon causes invisible damage to the plastic inside the detector. This damage can be measured and used to calculate the radon level. The householder is sent the result by letter.

  • Radon measurement service for householders
  • Order a radon detector pack from the www.UKradon.org website
  • The estimated radon potential for an individual home can also be obtained through the www.UKradon.org website.

But:

  • Monitoring for radon has to be carried out over a three month period.
  • Any monitoring already carried out by www.UKradon.org (formerly done by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB)) remains confidential between the www.UKradon.organd the householder who carried out the testing. If you are purchasing a property that may be effected ask the seller if they have undertaken any testing

If you are building a new property the Building Research Establishment has published the document BRE Report BR211 Radon: Protective measures for new dwellings 2007 - which contains maps showing areas of the UK which may require protection in new buildings and advice on what protection can be installed in different types of buildings.

If you have tested your property and found that it exceeds the 200 becquerels per cubic metre the Building Research Establisment Radon webpage offers advice on what measures can be installed into exsiting dwellings.

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Last updated: Thu 13 March, 2014 @ 14:08