Radon is a radioactive gas which occurs naturally. It has no taste, smell or colour. Special devices are needed to measure it.
Radon comes out of the ground. Outdoors, it is diluted to very low levels. However, in some cases the radon level indoors can build up to high concentrations. In such cases, it does pose a serious risk to health.
Radon is the second largest cause of lung cancer – the first is smoking. People who are exposed to high levels of radon are more likely to get lung cancer (much more so if they are smokers as well). It is estimated that radon causes 1, 000 – 2, 000 lung cancer deaths per year.
It occurs naturally from decaying uranium, and it is particularly abundant in regions with granite bedrock. Exposure is high in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, because of these counties’ underlying geology, and there are also hotspots in Wales, the Cotswolds and the Pennines.
At Fridaysmove we can carry out a search, for a fee, which will tell you instantly whether their home lies in a radon-affected zone — defined as an area in which at least one in a hundred buildings exceeds recommended limits for the gas.
Properties that receive a positive assessment can then be tested to establish the extent of the risk and owners can take measures to reduce exposure. The tests cost about £40, and the counter-measures about £1, 000.