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Should I be Testing for Radon?

You may not have heard of it, but radon exists. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas caused by the decay of minute amounts of uranium that is present in the rocks and soils underneath us. As such, radon can be drawn into buildings from the ground by entering through cracks and gaps in the floor or passing through building materials.

For most people, radon is the single greatest source of radiation exposure that they will receive over their lifetime, and although it is a natural gas, it can be damaging to our health. In fact, according to the UKHSA, radon is responsible for over 1,100 lung cancer deaths in the UK every year.

Radon is completely undetectable without special testing: it’s colourless, tasteless and odourless, so knowing whether you need to check for radon can be difficult. However, it’s not all bad news as testing for radon is straightforward and can be carried out easily by a radon professional.

At PropertECO, we’re here to help you understand whether you need to be testing for radon, and where to go if you find that you should.

Am I in a radon affected area?

Every building contains radon, but the levels are usually low and should be of no concern. However, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has published what’s known as an ‘Affected Area Map’ that covers the whole of the United Kingdom. The map is available online and is interactive. Simply enter your postcode, click ‘show radon data’ and the areas of the map that are highlighted in a darker colour will indicate a greater chance of being affected by high levels of radon.

However, while the map indicates affected areas, radon levels can differ from home to home. So, while your house may contain high levels of radon, your neighbour’s house only a few doors down may have low levels. Even after consulting the map, the only way to know the radon level in your property is to carry out a test.

Click here to find out whether you are in a radon affected area.


My building has a basement, should I test for radon?

Buildings that have basements often have higher levels of radon. That’s because the basement is below ground level and by default will be closer to the earth, soil and rocks that may contain radon. What’s more, basements often have low air pressure, meaning that radon and other soil gases can be pulled in from the rock and soils below the property at a greater rate.

The UKHSA strongly recommends that all properties with occupied basements should be monitored regardless of the radon potential shown on the affected area map.


What are my responsibilities as an employer to test for radon?

The UK’s Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) mandates that employers, as far as reasonably practicable should ensure the health and safety of employees and other people who have access to their work environment. This includes a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and taking appropriate action where necessary.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises that radon should be identified as a hazard and measures to mitigate levels in a building should be taken if:

– It is in a radon affected area

– It has a basement that is occupied for more than 50 hours per year

– It is a mine, cave, or other underground environment

– It has a suspected radon source such as ground water or geological samples


I Think I Need to Test for Radon: Where to Start

Luckily, radon is easy and straightforward to test for. You can either order a test kit online and follow the enclosed instructions or, for commercial properties where you may need to use a large volume of detectors, let one of our radon experts do it for you. At PropertECO, we offer quick 10-day radon screening test kits and 3-month comprehensive radon test kits that start at £39.60. Why not have a browse of our radon shop here?

Whilst our passive detectors are an easy and affordable way to test for radon, if you would prefer to see your radon levels at the touch of a button, our range of digital radon monitors allow you to do so. Whether you choose the EcoBlu to display your results on the device, or the EcoQube to have them sent via WiFi to your smartphone app, both of these devices continually monitor radon and do not need to be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

If you’re still unsure as to whether you need to test for radon, feel free to speak to one of our advisors via contact form or phoneline (0800 046 6193).

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