Survey urges tackling radon in new homes

Nine times as many radon-related lung cancers could be prevented if UK policies on indoor radiation were changed, a BMJ study shows.

Each year around 1,100 deaths from lung cancer are related to radon in the home.

Researchers from Oxford University found that 75% of radon-related lung cancers occur in areas with radon levels below UK thresholds for action. At present preventive measures are only carried out in home with high levels of radon.

The researchers suggest that undertaking basic preventive measures would prevent 44 deaths a decade. They estimate that current methods save five lives every 10 years.

The authors argue that installing basic and cheap measures to prevent radon in all new homes would be more cost-effective and have greater potential for reducing lung cancer deaths caused by radon, and UK building regulations should be amended to enforce this.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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