Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that arises from soil and rocks. It has no taste, smell or colour. Radon rises from the ground into the air; outdoors it disperses safely, but it can build up in enclosed spaces, such as homes and workplaces. It is present everywhere, but usually at levels that present no risk.
Inhalation of radon can cause an increased risk of lung cancer. The higher the level of radon is, the greater the risk. The Government have identified an `Action Level' (200 Becquerel's/m3) for radon in homes. Where the concentration of radon exceeds this level action is advisable to reduce the radon concentration.
A number of methods have been developed to reduce radon levels in homes at relatively low cost. The graph at the top of third page shows the lifetime risks of lung cancer potentially induced by radon (for non-smokers). So a person who lives for a lifetime in a home with radon at the Action level has a 10 in 1000 (i.e. 1 in 100) chance of developing lung cancer due to the radon.
The risk increases in proportion to the radon level. Smoking makes a radon problem far worse. If you smoke 15 cigarettes a day, you can multiply the risk factor by 10, so for example at the Action Level your risk is 100 in 1000. This is in addition to the risk of getting lung cancer due to the smoking itself.
Radon Affected Areas
A radon affected area is an area where 1% or more of the properties are affected at or above the action level for radon.
Please note the data we hold about radon affected areas is not property specific