What is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It has no taste, smell or colour, in fact special devices are needed to detect it. Radon is everywhere, usually at levels that pose negligible risk. However where Radon concentration is high, it does pose a serious risk to your health.
Where does it come from?
Radon is formed by the decay of small amounts of uranium. Uranium is found in small quantities in all rocks and soils, but amounts vary from place to place. Radon rises from the soil into the air; outdoors radon is diluted and the risk it poses is negligible. However when it is confined to enclosed spaces concentrations can build up.
How is radon dangerous?
Radon decays to minute radioactive particles, which can be breathed in. Where Radon concentrations are high there is chance that you may breathe in these particles and they may damage lung tissue thus increasing the risk of lung cancer.
Radon levels high in the Forest of Dean
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) published a radon probability map of the whole of England identifying radon-affected areas and the Forest of Dean was found to have high radon levels with some houses having up to 400 Becquerels per cubic metre of air and the HPA have advised the Government that the level of 200Bqm-3 should be adopted as an Action Level. Where the radon level in a home is at or above the Action Level then there is a need to reduce the radon count to a safe level.
How can you reduce the level of radon in your home? How to reduce radon levels
There are five main ways to reduce radon levels:
• Install a radon sump system
• Improve ventilation under suspended timber floors
• Use positive ventilation in your house
• Seal cracks and gaps in solid concrete floors
• Change the way your house is ventilated
The most effective way of reducing radon levels in houses in the Forest of Dean is to install a Positive Ventilation System (PIV). These units are usually fitted in loft and pump fresh new clean air into the house which dilutes the radon in the air and reduces the concentration of radon to below the action level leaving you with a healthier indoor environment. The PIV units are primarily intended to reduce humidity levels and remove condensation dampness but are also the most efficient way of removing radon and other airborne pollutants
For more information on radon and its potential harmful effect on occupants of houses in high radon areas please contact Forest Dampbusters on 01594 837300 or email us at enquiries@forest-dampbusters.co.uk .