A recent survey of 2000 respondents conducted in October 2021 by indoor air quality experts, Airthings, has revealed the extent of the lack of awareness of radon and the risks it poses to health. Nearly 80% [78.1%] of Brits do not know or are not sure about the dangers of radon in a home and only 7.5% know that radon exposure can lead to lung cancer. Despite causing 20,000 radon-related lung cancer deaths across Europe, only 7.5% of homeowners in the UK are concerned about the presence of radon gas at home.
According to the UK Health Security Agency, exposure to Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is responsible for at least 1100 deaths in the UK every year; more than three times the number of deaths attributed annually to house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning combined.
The company, which is a market leader in radon and indoor air quality solutions, says high levels of radon can be found in buildings of any type, size or location with occupants unaware of the potential danger unless it is being monitored.
Wales and the South-West of England are particularly at risk of being exposed to high levels of radon, according to a radiation map released by Public Health England.
Other parts of the country most likely to be exposed include Cumbria, Newcastle, and Northumberland, whilst areas in Scotland and Northern Ireland are also under threat. Similarly, the Cotswolds was recently dubbed a radon hotspot.
Radon typically enters a building because the air pressure within a building is usually lower than the pressure in the soil and rocks around the building’s foundation. Radon enters through a process referred to as advection. This is where the gas moves from a point of higher pressure (the ground, soil and rocks) to a point of lower pressure (the building). The difference in pressure causes the building to act as a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings. It is at this point that the radon becomes trapped within the building and where the levels can start to build up.
“It is evident from the survey findings that in the UK there is very little awareness of the dangers radon gas exposure has to our health and Airthings is on a mission to change that,” said Oyvind Birkenes, CEO of Airthings. “We’re eager to empower people with awareness and understanding of the most dangerous indoor air pollutants and to offer devices which provide an easy solution
To find more information on radon, indoor air pollutants and why long-term monitoring is important, visit Airthings website at www.airthings.com.
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