‘Colourless’ and ‘odourless’ deadly gas that could be in your home – areas where it’s high
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Public Health England explained: “Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas formed by the radioactive decay of the small amounts of uranium that occur naturally in all rocks and soils.” Above-average levels of radon radiation remain in areas of Cornwall as well as Devon.
The gas is the second-highest cause of lung cancer, with radon estimated to kill more than 1,100 people each year in the UK.
The radioactive elements formed by the decay of radon can be inhaled and enter the lungs.
Inside the lungs, these elements continue to decay and emit radiation, which can cause damage, causing cancer.
Symptoms from radon poisoning don’t show up straight away and instead can result in health problems like cancer.
PHE added: “Every building contains radon but the levels are usually low. The chances of a high level depend on the type of ground.”
Inside buildings, the air pressure tends to be lower than outside and so radon is drawn in through the gaps in the floor.
A recent map from PHE shows the areas in the UK where there are above-average levels of the gas.
The worst affected areas in Cornwall include Penzance, Bodmin Moor, St Austell, Camborne, Redruth and Helston.
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The region is said to have higher levels of the deadly gas due to a larger granite presence.
It means that people living in the area are at greater risk of radiation absorption.
Places in Wales also have a high level of radon as well as some areas in the Peak District.
The Yorkshire Dales is also at greater risk of seeing a high level of the gas.
Areas in London and Norfolk remain at low risk of seeing radon.
The longer that someone is exposed to the gas, the greater the risk becomes.
Although the gas can’t be seen or smelt, it can be tested for.
According to Public Health England, radon detectors are safe and simple to use, and can be measured over time.
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Detectors contain a piece of clear plastic which is sensitive to radon.
At the end of a three month period, it can be returned to PHE to see if there is any radon in the property.
Some simple actions such as sealing around loft-hatches, sealing large openings in floors and extra ventilation do not reduce radon levels on their own.
PHE said: “When combined with other effective measures, they can improve the reduction.”
Some preventative measures can cost up to £2,000 if there is a high level of the invisible gas inside.
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