Radon, as for most people, is one of the primary causes of lung cancer, particularly in the United Kingdom. The exposure to harmful radiations, whether at home or outside, becomes excessively high if you do not manage the situation correctly. Since radon is a naturally occurring gas, it remains trapped under the soil and thus, accumulates inside your property or in an enclosed space. The levels outside are considerably lower, yet the risk pertains. According to a recent report published on express.co.uk, extended by Public Health England, radon is a menace across the nation. Areas in the South West are most affected. The levels are equally high in several parts of Ireland, England as well as Scotland. Although not all of the buildings are affected, the levels and the risk are quite high. When you enter these regions, signs read, “Warning: You are now entering a radioactive area.” This is an uncomfortable situation. It even affects businesses – from tourism to real estate, people turn away heads.
Radon Risk in the United Kingdoms (UK)
Radon forms naturally due to decaying uranium 238 which is already present in the soil or rocks. Seeping out of the Earth’s crust, radon is radioactive, invisible well as an odorless gas. Therefore, prolonged exposure is dangerous and can lead to several health hazards. It renders tonnes of people vulnerable since having no smell or color makes us ignorant of its potential dangers. A renowned cancer epidemiologist, Professor Sir Richard Peto once remarked: “If only radon was blue and people could see it they would take it seriously, but unfortunately it isn’t.”
Which Areas Are Most Affected?
According to Public Health England, several areas in the United Kingdom are explicitly affected by radon. So, there’s more than 30% risk in areas like the Cairngorm Mountains, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District National Park, Banbury, Cardiff, Helston, Dartmoor, Cambrian Mountains, and more.
What Do High Radon Levels Indicate?
This report here shows how higher levels of radon cause more than 1,000 deaths every year due to lung cancer in the United Kingdom. Radon is a cancer-causing gas and it’s even more dangerous if you are a smoker. Moreover, if the ventilation system is not adequate inside your home, long-term exposure indicates deteriorating overall well-being. Therefore, the average acceptable radon levels in the UK are 20 becquerels per cubic meter. Any number above this is life-threatening for human and animal health. To be honest, there aren’t any safe levels since the risk can be smaller but won’t be zero. So, maintaining a safe level is necessary to ensure you are in good health.
How Do You Expose Yourself To Radon?
In the open air, radon has a less significant impact on your health. However, when it enters enclosures through holes or cracks particularly in the underground (foundational) areas such as the basement, radon traps inside. It can also trap into the well water. Some kinds of building materials release radon, however, that’s a very rare case. Moreover, radon levels are high in properties that are tightly sealed, insulated, and constructed over lands containing uranium or radium. This is why there’s a majority concentration in basements as well as ground and first floor.
How Radon Affects Your Health?
Radon is all around us, especially in the UK, the USA, and Canada. Even if the levels are insignificant, you are breathing it day in and day out. So, if the levels are not in control, the accumulation can be damaging to your health. When you inhale radon, it attaches itself to the lining of your lungs over time. In case you are a heavy smoker, the impact is even greater leaving the lungs vulnerable to the damage. You won’t notice any signs since most of them are similar to the common cold, cough, or flu. However, prolonged exposure can cause radon poisoning in pets, kids as well as adults.
Symptoms of Radon Poisoning
- Breath shortness
- Persistent or bloody cough
- Chest pain
- Respiratory infections
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
There are, however, no tests to confirm if the lung infection is due to radon exposure. But, if you test your home and the levels are high, chances of contracting any symptoms may be related to the same. If the signs are diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is much effective and reduces the risk of spreading any further.
Should You Consider Shifting To Other Areas?
Regions such as the ones with a lower risk of radon may see an influx of more home buyers or people coming from high-risk areas. However, should you be doing that? Remember that radon is everywhere no matter where you live. So, you must rather concentrate on bringing down the levels – moving isn’t an option for everyone but minimizing the risk definitely is!
How To Prevent High Radon Levels Inside?
Regardless of whether you live in a high-risk or low-risk area, precautionary steps are to be taken to safeguard your health. So, even before carrying out any preventive processes, ensure how high or low the levels are. For this, install a radon gas detector (manual or electronic). You can check out our radon gas detector reviews which enlist the top-rated and the most preferred products for this purpose. Both a manual and an electronic radon detector helps you monitor the radon levels in your home over a time period. Usually, these are either short-term (3 to 10 days) or long-term (3, 6, and 12 months) tests. These provide you accurate results in just a few days based on which you may take the necessary action.
If the results are worrisome, say more than 20 becquerels per cubic meter (in the UK), start by sealing any cracks or holes in the foundation of your home. Next is to make sure that the house or even your workspace has proper ventilation since closed or tight places can accumulate radon very easily. So, open the doors or windows for some time every day. The final and most important step is to create a radon sump. If your home tests show more than the acceptable radon levels, a professional can be employed for the further process. It involves the installation of a mitigation fan and pipework to vent the gas outside your building. This can be a bit expensive due to service charges, but if you are aware of the basics, there are DIY kits available too where you can set up the entire mechanism all by yourself to further cut down the costs. Once this is done, constantly keep monitoring the radon levels. And, such remedial solutions keep working for several years and only require occasional checks.
People across the county might feel anxious and worried after hearing from Public Health England on the rising threats of radon exposure. However, there’s no need to fret since radon is present all over the globe in some of the other amounts. But, you need to act now – patiently, sensibly, and responsibly. Testing is inexpensive and not at all hard work. It is one of the most efficient ways to help you make your environment safer and livable.