Radon is a radioactive gas which can't be detected by humans, as it is invisible and has no smell or taste. It accounts for half of the radiation we are all exposed to daily, with the other half coming from a mix of sources. At normal levels, this radiation is harmless, but exposure to a radiation source like radon above safe levels can cause serious health problems.
The video shown below from propertECO gives a quick overview of the important facts that all homeowners, landlords and employers should be aware of.
All soil and rocks naturally contain small amounts of uranium. As this element decays, radon is formed, which then rises to the surface. It is found everywhere, and is always at safe levels outdoors. However, it can be at dangerously high levels in buildings, depending on the part of the country, and the type of ground the building is on. Other significant factors include the design and materials used in the building, and the habits of the occupants. Two neighbouring houses might have varying levels of radon.
High levels of radiation are dangerous, as radon causes radioactive dust in the air. This can become trapped in our airways, and continue to emit radiation, including dangerous alpha particles. The damage this causes to tissues increases the risk of lung cancer, with this risk going up as levels of radon and exposure times rise. It is estimated that more than 1,100 deaths from lung cancer each year in the UK are caused by radon. Because of this, it is important to be aware of whether or not you are in a high risk area, and to ensure the levels of radon in your home are low.
Radon is measured in units called becquerels, and these are calculated per cubic metre. Generally speaking, a level below 100 Bq/m³ is considered low risk, and the UK average is far below this at 20 Bq/m³. As the radon level rises past the 100 Bq/m³ point, the risk begins to increase. Testing radon levels is simple, and merely involves placing a radon testing device in your home for at least 7 days to ensure an accurate reading is gathered. If you live in an area where high radon levels are more likely, it is recommended that you test your home. If you opt to do this and discover levels to be within the safe zone, you can rest assured that there is a low risk. If, however, you find that there are dangerous levels of radon in your home, there are actions you can take to lower them to within the safe limits.
If you find out that your home contains high levels of radon gas, don't panic! There are simple solutions to reduce the amount of radon, and keep you and your family safe. At Envirovent, we offer a range of ventilation systems for your whole house, which improve your air quality and effectively deal with radon. Contact your local ventilation specialist to test your home for radon gas and find out if you are living in a radon affected area.