Is Torridge in a radon affected area?

Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless natural gas found in soil and rocks. Levels vary throughout Torridge from parish to parish and even from house to house in the same street.

We all breathe in radon throughout our lives and for most UK residents it accounts for approximately half their total annual radiation dosage.  However, certain geological conditions, including those found in parts of Torridge, can lead to above average radon levels.  Radon is considered as a significant contaminant that affects indoor air quality worldwide.  It is reportedly the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking.  People who are exposed to high levels of radon are more likely to get lung cancer (much more so if they are smokers as well).  It is estimated that radon causes 1,000 - 2,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the UK.

In open spaces, when radon mixes with air, it is quickly diluted into the atmosphere.  However air containing radon can find its way into your home or workplace, mainly through cracks in floors and gaps around service pipes from the ground below.  Until you have a test carried out you cannot know what the level of radon will be in your property.  However, you can find out if your property is in a higher or lower risk area.

To enable radon initiatives to be targeted effectively, the most radon-prone areas are designated by Public Health England (PHE) as Affected Areas, defined as those areas with a greater than 1% chance of a house having radon levels above the Action Level of 200 Bqm-3.  PHE recommends that people in Affected Areas should test their homes for radon.

In July 2010 PHE introduced a "Target Level" of 100 Bqm-3 in addition to the 200 Bqm-3 Action Level to emphasise that even below 200 Bqm-3 there are still risks to health and simple remediation measures can be taken to reduce these risks.

Public Health England has issued radon maps of England and Wales which show the areas of the country classed as 'Affected Areas'.

Further information on Radon including maps and links, click here.