Does radon gas cause cancer?

‘Houses in Blaenau Ffestiniog’ by artq55 / CC BY-SA 2.0

Radon gas is a natural radioactive gas that comes from rocks and soils. Radon gas is found in the air at low levels outdoors, but it can sometimes build up to high concentrations indoors. When it builds up indoors, it can increase the risk of lung cancer.

The average level of radon gas in UK homes is low, but levels can 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.

Indoor radon gas and cancer

Cancer Research UK scientists have found that exposure to indoor radon gas is linked to 4% of lung cancer cases in the UK. The vast majority of radon-related lung cancers are caused by a combination of both indoor radon gas and smoking. This means that most of these cancers could be prevented by not smoking.

More information

If you think you live in a high-radon area and are worried about radon gas in your home or workplace, you can find out more on the UK Radon website. This has lots of information including how to order a radon gas risk report or measurement pack.

High indoor radon gas levels can be reduced by increasing under-floor ventilation with a fan. There are different options depending on how high radon gas levels are and whether you have solid or suspended floors. New buildings can be made radon-proof at a very low extra cost.

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