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Mail :
Environmental Protection and Monitoring
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
Phone :
01752 304147
Email :
public.protection@plymouth.gov.uk
Fax :
01752 226314

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Chemicals

Radon

What is radon?

Radon is a gas or vapour (similar to steam but colourless), caused by the natural decay of uranium in rocks underlying many areas, including the south west region. Normally the gas disperses in air and does not cause any significant problems. However, when it collects in enclosed spaces, including in houses built on source rocks, higher gas concentrations may occur indoors. Radon may pose a significant health risk if concentrations are of a particularly high level over a lifetime exposure.

Government advice

The Government, in conjunction with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has established a national action level, above which, remedial action should be taken to prevent excessive radon concentrations in the home. This level is 200 Becquerels per metre cubed.

What householders can do

The HPA suggests that where radon gas levels in properties may be above the national action level, as in the Plymouth area, householders/owners should arrange for simple testing to be performed to assess levels. The HPA provide test kits. This testing usually involves placement of a small disc in the bedroom and one in the living room for a period of three months. The disc is then removed by the householder and sent to the HPA, who then analyse them and feedback the results. There is a small charge - approximately £44 including VAT. The results are confidential between the HPA and the householder.

House buyers/sellers

The HPA advises that the level of radon gas can be measured and its potential presence should not prohibit purchase of a property, as there are mitigation methods available.

If you are purchasing a property you should ask the vendor whether they have had a test carried out in the property and if not, perhaps suggest that testing is carried out prior to purchase.

Further information

For further information and requests for test kits please contact the Health Protection Agency.

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