Council homes to be tested for radon gas threat
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Housing
Council homes to be tested for radon gas threatImage: Floor via Shutterstock
Around 1,150 council houses in Highland are to be tested for radon gas.
Public Health England (PHE) is set to send tenants test kits and instructions on how to use them at the end of August.
Highland is one of 16 local authorities in Scotland which has areas with a presence of radon exceeding recommended levels.
Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, cannot be seen, heard, felt or tasted, and comes from the tiny amounts of uranium that occur naturally in all rocks and soils.
Present in all parts of the UK, the gas disperses outdoors so levels are generally very low. Each individual breathes it in throughout their lives, and for most UK residents radon accounts for half of their total annual radiation dosage.
However, geological conditions in certain areas, including some parts of the Highlands, can lead to higher than average levels.
PHE recommends that action should be taken to reduce radon levels in houses where the radon concentration is measured at or above the action level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre (Bq m-3).
Testing for radon is a straightforward process. Two small detectors are placed in a house for three months after which they are sent for analysis.
Where a high level of radon is present, steps can be taken to reduce the level, normally by increasing the ventilation under a suspended floor or sucking out the radon from under a solid floor, using a fan.
PHE has emphasised that there is no need for any immediate concern and there is no acute risk from radon. Any risk is due to long-term exposure.
PHE is contacting to tenants in parts of Badenoch and Strathspey; Wester Ross Strathpeffer and Lochalsh; Caol and Mallaig; Landward Caithness; East Sutherland and Edderton; Dingwall and Seaforth; and Aird and Loch Ness.
Private householders are being encouraged to check the radon maps available at http://www.ukradon.org/.
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