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Cancer Reasearch UK Air pollution, radon and cancer




Radon is a natural radioactive gas that can increase the risk of lung cancer. When inhaled, it can change into other radioactive chemicals that can be left behind in the lungs.

Radon is found in the air at a low level outdoors, but it can sometimes build up to high concentrations indoors. And several parts of the UK, including south-west England and parts of Wales, can have higher levels of radon. Public Health England’s UK Radon website has helpful maps of radon levels by UK region.

Cancer Research UK scientists have found that exposure to radon accounts for only 3% of all UK cases of lung cancer. The vast majority of radon-related lung cancers are caused jointly by radon and smoking, meaning that these cancers could also be prevented by being a non-smoker.

As with air pollution, radon has a small effect on cancer risk compared to smoking. Even if non-smokers live in areas with the highest concentrations of radon, they still have no more than a one in a hundred chance of getting lung cancer. But smokers living in these areas are over 20 times more likely to get lung cancer.

High levels of radon concentrations can be reduced by increasing under-floor ventilation with a fan, and there are different options depending on how high radon levels are and whether you have solid or suspended floors. The most expensive options can cost up to £2,000 to install, including fees for a contractor, and then around £50 a year for running costs for the fan. New buildings can be made radon-proof at a very low extra cost.

If you are worried, you can find out more by calling the office 01604 494118 a member of our team will be happy to help.

Resource from cancer research website:

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