High Levels of Radon in West Oxfordshire

23 January 2012, 05:00 | Updated: 9 February 2012, 07:51

Lots of people have been going to drop-in-sessions for advice after hundreds of homes across West Oxfordshire were found to have high levels of a potentially cancer-causing gas.

Last summer, the Health Protection Agency asked about 9,000 householders to apply for a free test for radon.

Radon is a gas that occurs naturally. It cannot be seen, smelt or tasted but is believed to lead to over 1,000 lung cancer deaths in the UK every year.

More than 4,000 households took up the free radon test offer and the HPA sent out kits (pictured below) which were placed in homes and returned for analysis after three months.

Most householders have now been sent their test results, with more than 500 being told they need to do something about the radon in the homes.

radon testing kit

Neil McColl, head of radon at the HPA's Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards near Didcot, said:

"Whenever we run testing programmes we find a small number of properties with unusually high readings. What all of these results have shown us once again is that if you are in a radon affected area in West Oxfordshire you should get your home tested - if you haven't already done so.

"If your home is shown to have high levels of radon, you can then take practical steps to reduce your exposure and minimise your risk."

Households affected were sent letters inviting them to drop-in sessions over the last week with the last taking place at the Town Hall in Chipping Norton on Thursday February 9.

Neil said people will be able to get all the information they need to assess the scale of their exposure and decide what to do next; 

"Many people aren't familiar with radon, so naturally when you get a radon test result you may want to find out more. Because of that we find it's useful to run local events where people who want more information can ask us questions face-to-face, see examples of the simple measures and equipment used to reduce radon and get information from radon contractors.

"We also like to explain to people that reducing radon levels in the home can be quite straight forward - some remediation of homes can be undertaken by anyone with practical DIY experience. Sometimes it's as simple as cleaning out the air bricks at the bottom of the house."

Click here to see if your area of the Thames Valley is affected by high levels of radon.