Radon gas is the second largest cause of lung cancer in the UK. Breathing in this deadly gas results in up to 2,000 fatal cancers every year. However, measuring the levels of radon gas in the home or workplace is simple and cheap and any high levels are relatively easy to address.

What is radon gas?

Radon is a radioactive gas which comes from uranium and occurs naturally in many soils and rocks. The gas seeps out from the ground and builds up in enclosed spaces, such as houses and offices. The highest concentrations tend to be found in underground spaces such as basements and caves, as well as ground floor buildings where the gas enters through gaps and cracks in the floor.

Do I live in a radon affected area?

Just about every building and home will contain radon, but this is usually at a very low level and is nothing to worry about. The chances of a higher level of gas will depend on the type of ground in the area. Public Health England (http://www.ukradon.org/information/ukmaps) publishes a very informative interactive map which shows whether you are likely to be living in a high radon gas area.

Buying a new property

Building regulations now require that all new build homes in radon affected areas are built with the appropriate safeguards in place (full or basic), such as a modified damp proof membrane or a radon-proof barrier across the ground floor with a radon sump.

Buying a used home

When buying a used property, it’s advisable to check with the current owners to see if they have carried out a radon check and request a copy of the report. If there is no report, speak to your solicitor to arrange for a retention (a sum of money set aside for any remedial work, if necessary for a period of months) and then arrange for a test to be carried out when you move in.

Breathing in radon gas is a serious risk, which is easily preventable. Contrast Surveys can test your property to establish to establish the levels of gas in your property and if required, have the expertise to carry out appropriate repairs to ensure you and your family are kept safe and sound.

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