Radioactive levels could cause cancer

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A RADIOACTIVE cancer-causing gas could affect thousands of households in the Derbsyhire Dales, a report claims.

Radon levels are significantly higher in the Dales than other parts of Derbyshire, according to figures released by the Health Protection Agency.

Radon – an odourless, colourless, tasteless radioactive gas released from the decay of uranium in rocks and soil – can enter homes through cracks in floors and walls. It is the second largest cause of lung cancer in the UK.

Between 2,100 and 3,400 Derbyshire Dales’ households are estimated to be at, or above, the recommended level for radon, according to the HPA.

Up to 770 homes could be affected in NE Derbyshire and between 120 and 250 households may be at risk in Chesterfield.

Cancer Research UK said high radon levels can be reduced by increasing underfloor ventilation with a fan.

The HPA report can be downloaded at www.hpa.org.uk.

The figures are estimates based on thousands of measurements using home detectors which record gas levels inside.

Dr John Cooper, director of the HPA’s Centre for Radiation, Chemicals and Environmental Hazards, said: “We get hundreds of inquiries about radon every month.

“This resource will give people a snapshot of radon levels in their area – usefully it shows information for different postcodes and local council areas,” he added.

n Have you taken any measures to protect your home against radon? Let us know by emailing news@matlockmercury.co.uk or by logging on to www.matlockmercury.co.uk