Three more counties affected by radioactive gas

THREE MORE counties in England have been designated areas affected by radon, the radioactive gas that seeps into homes from the ground, which is estimated to kill 2,500 people a year in Britain through lung cancer.

The National Radiological Protection Board added Northamptonshire, and parts of Somerset and Derbyshire, to Devon and Cornwall as areas where at least 1 per cent of houses suffer concentrations of radon above the official action level.

However, a spokeswoman for the board said yesterday that although the affected areas had been designated on a county basis, 'radon is no respecter of county boundaries'; for example, the geological structures giving rise to radon in Derbyshire continue on towards Sheffield.

'It's fairly obvious that there will be a percentage of houses affected in the outskirts of Sheffield,' she said.

The radon problem is less severe than that found in Devon and Cornwall, which, in 1990, were the first counties to be designated affected areas.

Radon seeps up through the soil from small concentrations of uranium ore in the rocks beneath and collects in basements or in the spaces beneath floors.

The underlying rock in the South-west is fractured granite which has comparatively large deposits of uranium.

But although the rock underlying Derbyshire is limestone, it contains enough uranium to pose a radon problem.

Householders in the affected areas should write to the board to have radon concentrations in their houses measured individually. 'One house can be OK and the next have high radon levels,' the board said.

The incidence of high radon concentrations can be patchy, with perhaps only one house in a single street having radon that exceeds the recommended action levels.

The Government has not moved to help house owners affected by the problem.

The only funds available are means-tested local authority grants for remedial work. With the squeeze on local authority spending, few such grants are being made.

In Devon and Cornwall the local building regulations were altered so that the construction of new houses took account of the prevalence of radon.

Most existing houses can be modified to minimise the radon concentrations - by putting in ducts or fans to extract the gas - for less than pounds 1,000.

Paradoxically, despite the high radon levels in South-western homes, the incidence of lung cancer in Devon and Cornwall is less than the national average.

However, cancer epidemiologists believe this reflects the rural character of the two counties and recent demographic patterns. Older people move to the area on retirement and younger people move away in search of work before receiving sufficient radon exposure to produce a noticeable statistical effect.

Attempts to trace the effects of radon directly are complicated by cancer resulting from cigarette smoking.

Together with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, the board is investigating more than 600 victims of lung cancer in Devon and Cornwall to see if they have a history of radon exposure.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data/ MI Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

PPA Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Behaviour Support Worker

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Sheffield: SEN Education Support Worker ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments