Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas. It is formed by the natural disintegration of uranium, which is present in all surface rocks and soil, and is the second largest cause of lung cancer after smoking. The World Health Organisation estimates that radon causes up to 15% of lung cancers worldwide.
In some countries, radon measurements are part of the standard survey that is done when purchasing a home. It’s optional in the UK, but highly recommended, and more and more people are now doing it. Most UK homes have levels of radon around 20 Bq m3 (bequerels per cubic metre), which is thought to be no cause for concern, but in some parts of the country and many parts of the world, it is higher. There is no way to know what level of radon you are exposed to unless you measure it.
Professional testing can be very expensive, but now there are meters available that you can buy or hire at quite reasonable prices.
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