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What Are the Symptoms of Too Much Radon Exposure?

Radon exposure is a significant health risk that often goes unnoticed due to its silent, odourless and colourless nature. Understanding the symptoms and risks associated with too much exposure to radon is crucial for protecting both your health and the health of those around you.

At PropertECO, we’re here to help you understand the ways we are exposed to radiation, how both radiation and radon exposure can affect your health, and what you can do to protect yourself and others.


Ways We Are Exposed to Radiation

Radiation has been constantly present throughout our human evolution. As such, our bodies are adapted to handle the low levels of radiation we encounter in our daily lives. That said, constant and consistent exposure to high levels of radiation can cause serious health problems.

There are lots of ways we are exposed to radiation, this includes:

  1. Medical and Industrial Exposure: Dental and medical x-rays, industrial uses of nuclear technology and various consumer products such as smoke detectors can all expose us to radiation.
  2. External Exposure from Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Elements: We are surrounded by radioactive elements that are naturally found in both soils and rocks and even in cosmic rays that enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
  3. Internal Exposure: We also receive internal exposure from radioactive elements that we ingest through food, water, and the air we breathe.
  4. Environmental Contamination: Fallout from nuclear explosive testing and routine emissions from nuclear and coal power stations also contribute to our radiation exposure.

How Does Radiation Affect Our Health?

Radiation damages the structure of our cells, tissues and DNA which can then cause cancer. However, this does not mean that because you have been exposed to radiation you will experience serious health problems. What counts as a damaging level of exposure to radiation all depends on:

  1. The type of radiation
  2. The amount of radiation
  3. How you were exposed (skin contact, swallowing, breathing in, or having rays pass through your body as in an X-ray)
  4. Where the radiation concentrates in the body and how long it stays there
  5. How sensitive your body is to radiation (your vulnerability will be impacted by your age and immune system)


What is Radon?

One type of environmental radiation we are exposed to is radon gas. Radon is a radioactive gas produced from the natural decay of uranium found in all rocks and soils. It can also be present in water, however, in the UK, our main drinking water is treated before it reaches our homes. Radon can escape from the ground into the air, where it continues to decay into radioactive particles. When inhaled, these particles can deposit on the cells lining the airways, potentially causing DNA damage and lung cancer. In fact, 1 in 20 cases of lung cancer in the UK are linked to radon.


What Are the Symptoms of Too Much Radon?

The symptoms of radon exposure will not appear overnight. Instead, they are a result of prolonged exposure. As such, it may take years before symptoms manifest.

The primary health risk associated with radon exposure is lung cancer. Early signs of lung cancer include:

  • Persistent cough: A nagging cough that doesn’t go away after three weeks
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing that doesn’t go away
  • Chest infections that keep coming back
  • Aches or pains when coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent tiredness of loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

For more detailed information on lung cancer symptoms, you can visit resources such as:

The NHS Website

Cancer Research: The Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Macmillan Cancer Support: Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer


How Can I Protect Myself from Radon?

Radon is a preventable risk factor that can be managed through effective testing and mitigation. Testing in homes, workplaces, and schools is important to catch elevated levels of radon early. If high levels of radon are found, a well-designed mitigation system  can greatly reduce levels in buildings.

At PropertECO, we’re here to help you do just that. We supply a range of testing devices, including passive radon detectors and electronic radon monitors so that home-owners can test their homes and employers can test their workplaces in the most appropriate way.

If your radon testing kit does identify high radon levels, then our specialist radon contractors at PropertECO can help implement a mitigation plan.

Click here to find out more about our radon testing and radon mitigation solutions.

Alternatively, feel free to speak to one of our advisors via contact form or phoneline (0800 046 6193).

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