Radon is a radioactive gas which originates from the decay of uranium in rocks and soils. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless and can only be measured using special detectors. When radon surfaces in the open air, it is quickly diluted to harmless concentrations, but when it enters an enclosed space, such as a house or other building, it can sometimes accumulate to unacceptably high levels.
Radon decays to form tiny radioactive particles, when inhaled into the lungs these particles can result in a radiation dose which may damage cells in the lung and increase the risk of lung cancer. In Ireland about 300 cases of lung cancer are linked to radon each year.
The government has set a reference level of 200 Bq/m3 for households and recommends that all homes have radon levels below this. Radon is easy to test for and it is easy to reduce the levels of radon in your home.
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