Radon gas is a natural radioactive gas that can increase the risk of lung cancer.
Radon gas is found in the air at a low level outdoors, but it can sometimes build up to high concentrations indoors. Levels of radon gas vary across the UK. Several areas, including south-west England and parts of Wales, may have higher levels. You can find out more about the levels of radon gas in your region on Public Health England’s UK Radon map.
Radon gas and cancer
Cancer Research UK scientists have found that exposure to radon gas accounts for only 4% of all UK cases of lung cancer. The vast majority of radon-related lung cancers are caused jointly by radon gas and smoking. This means that these cancers could also be prevented by not smoking.
Even if non-smokers live in areas with the highest concentrations of radon gas, on average only about one in a hundred would develop lung cancer. But smokers living in these areas are over 20 times more likely to develop the disease.
High radon gas levels can be reduced by increasing under-floor ventilation with a fan, and there are different options depending on how high radon gas levels are and whether you have solid or suspended floors. The most expensive options can cost up to £2,000 to install, including fees for a contractor, and then around £50 a year for running costs for the fan. New buildings can be made radon-proof at a very low extra cost.
If you are worried, find out more on the UK Radon website, which has lots of information including how to order a radon gas risk report or measurement pack for your home or workplace.