Manoeuvring through the unknown territory of radon gas and radon testing can be daunting and it’s sometimes difficult to know the facts from the opinions and the risks from the scaremongering. Here at PropertECO we want to help you know where you stand and provide you with some concrete answers.
What Is Radon Gas?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas caused from the natural decay of minute amounts of uranium that is present in all rocks and soils underneath us. In the UK, it is measured in becquerels per cubic metre of air (Bq/m3) and the levels are present to varying degrees throughout the whole of the UK. Radon is undetectable without special testing: it is colourless, odourless and tasteless so the only way to be sure of radon levels within a property is through monitoring using a radon test kit.
How Do Radon Levels Vary?
Radon levels vary both over time and geographically.
Over Time: Radon levels vary during from hour to hour, day to day, and season to season. The variation is caused by a wide number of factors, including changes in temperature, soil gas pressure, and ventilation, for example opening windows and doors. Radon levels increase when the air pressure within the property is lower than the pressure within the soil as this causes a ‘suction’ effect that draws more gas from the soil into the building.
Geographically: The HPA (now part of Public Health England) and BGS came together to create the radon map of Britain using geological information and data from radon tests previously carried out. This map acts as an indicator of the areas of the country where dangerous radon levels are most likely to be found, but is only a prediction and the only way to be sure your home is safe is to test.
What Health Risks Are Associated With Radon?
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the UK after smoking. It is linked with over 2000 lung cancer deaths in the UK every single year. If you smoke and are frequently exposed to high levels of radon your risk of contracting the disease is especially high. There are no short term ill effects associated with living in a radon affected property and the beginning of exposure and the onset of disease can take years. As there are no warning signs, testing for radon is the only way to get conclusive proof of levels and ensure that you are not exposed to dangerous radon levels before it is too late.
What Is The Radon Action Level?
If the level of radon is 200 Bq/m3 or higher the government recommends reduction methods be implemented. The action level refers to the annual average concentration of radon in the home; usually radon tests are carried out using two detectors, one on the ground floor and one on the first, which are left in place for 3 months so information on fluctuating levels can be gathered. Short term screening tests lasting from 10 days upwards can give an indication of radon levels and are useful during property transactions.
What Is The Radon Target Level?
Whilst the government recommend that radon remediation work is undertaken in all properties where the level of radon is 200 Bq/m3 or higher, the Health Protection Agency also recommends that homeowners with radon levels of 100 Bq/m3 or more “strongly consider taking action”. This is known as the Target Level, and is also the level below which any remedial work should aim to reduce radon concentrations to.
Here at PropertECO we supply both short and long term radon testing kits so you can be certain of your property’s radon levels. We also provide solutions for bringing radon levels down if your property is affected. For more information on radon gas and radon testing kits contact us today on 0800 046 6193 or get in touch online and a member of our team will be happy to help.