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RADON GAS – NOT A PRETTY PICTURE

Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gasformed by the radioactive decay of the small amounts of uranium that occur naturally in all rocks and soils.

 

Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas.

 

 

The Next Article

explains the Health Risk.

 

Why is it a risk to our health?

Radioactive elements decay and emit radiation.

 

Any exposure to this type of radiation is a risk to health – radiation is a form of energy and can cause damage in living tissues increasing the risk of cancer.

Where is radon found?

Radon is everywhere; formed from the uranium in all rocks and soils.

Outdoors everywhere and indoors in many areas the radon levels are low and the risk to health is small.

The darker the colour on the radon maps, the greater the chance of a high radon level in a building.

However not all buildings, even in the darkest areas, have high levels.

What is a low level?

The amount of radon is measured in becquerels per cubic metre of air (Bq m-3).

The average level in UK homes is 20 Bq m-3.

For levels below 100 Bq m-3, your individual risk remains relatively low and not a cause for concern.

However, the risk increases as the radon level increases.

What is radioactivity and radiation?

Radioactivity is where unstable elements, such as naturally occuring uranium, thorium and radon, break down; energy is released and different elements formed.

The new elements may also be unstable so the process is repeated until a stable element is formed.

The energy given off is called radiation and can be alpha or beta particles or gamma rays.

Alpha particles are more harmful than beta particles or gamma rays.

This is because alpha particles contain more energy and are absorbed over a smaller area.

Our exposure to radiation

We are all exposed to radiation from natural and man-made sources.

Just 20 Bq m-3 (the average radon level in UK homes) gives us half our exposure to radiation from all sources.

Higher radon levels give higher exposures: that is why it is important to find out the levels in your home and in your school or workplace.

 

 

https://www.ukradon.org/information/ukmaps

Radon address search

 

A report will tell you the estimated probability above the Action Level.

Order a report

Radon measurement pack

Find out the yearly average radon level for a property and if it is above or below the Action Level.

Order a domestic pack

Order a workplace pack

PHE has published reports containing radon Affected Area maps for the whole of the United Kingdom.

 

Copies of the reports are available to download using the links at the bottom of this page.

 

Every building contains radon but the levels are usually low.

 

The chances of a higher level depend on the type of ground. Public Health England has published a map showing where high levels are more likely.

 

The darker the colour the greater the chance of a higher level.

 

The chance is less than one home in a hundred in the white areas and greater than one in three in the darkest areas.

Explore the interactive map

Breakdown of the average UK radiation dose in 2010 by source example

 

 

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