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Radon has been recognised as a cause of lung cancer in humans for many years. It is a naturally occurring radioactive gas formed as a result of the decay of uranium which is present in all rocks and soils. The gas rises from the soil and disappears into the atmosphere. Its risk to health is small, but as a precautionary approach it is desirable to minimise levels within buildings. With this in mind, Public Health England (PHE) recommends that where radon levels within homes are more than 200 becquerels/m3 (Radon Action Level) some remedial actions should be undertaken.
A range of cost effective solutions have been developed by the Building Research Establishment to both reduce levels in existing buildings and to prevent entry into new build properties and can be viewed at the website www.bre.co.uk/radon.
A map, based on the results of radon measurements and geological survey, has been released by Public Health England in association with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) in August 2015. This latest report presents an indicative map for Northern Ireland defining areas with a 1% or greater probability of exceedance of the Radon Action Levels. The estimated radon potential for an individual home can be obtained through the Public Health England website www.radon.org.
The current edition of the Radon Atlas of Northern Ireland along with full copy of the report can be viewed at www.gov.uk/phe “Radon in Dwellings in Northern Ireland”.
If you wish to obtain a report to advise if your home is in a radon affected area, PHE can provide a Radon Risk Report costing £3.90* plus VAT. Homes identified as being in an area affected by radon can have their radon concentration measured to indicate if it is at or above the Action Level. PHE provide such a service which requires approximately 3 months of monitoring via supplied radon detectors, with the resultant report costing £48.90* plus VAT.
* Costs correct February 2016.