It’s colourless, odourless and tasteless but high levels of this gas can increase the risk of cancer – and it occurs naturally in the land.

Public health officials say every building contains radon and levels are usually low, but there are hotspots across the country, caused by the type of ground buildings were constructed on.

An interactive map, provided by the UK Health Security Agency, can tell you whether you live in, or near, an area affected by high levels of radon gas.

The darker the colour, the greater the chance of a higher level of gas. The risk is less than one home in a hundred in the white areas and greater than one in three in the darkest areas.


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Swanage and Wareham Voice: The UKradon map shows the maximum radon potential across all of Dorset. Picture: UKradonThe UKradon map shows the maximum radon potential across all of Dorset. Picture: UKradon

What is radon gas?

Radon is formed by the radioactive decay of the small amounts of uranium found naturally in all rocks and soils. This means it is everywhere.

The radiation emitted can increase the risk of cancer

Is radon gas dangerous and am I at risk?

According to UKradon, radon produces a radioactive dust in the air that we breathe.

The dust traps in our airways and emits radiation that damages the inside of our lungs. This damage, like the damage caused by smoking, increases our risk of lung cancer.

The higher the radon and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk.

To reduce risk, UKradon suggests you find out if you live in a radon-risk area and if you do, measure your home. If the radon is high, reduce it and if you smoke, give up.

How Dorset is impacted by radon gas

It appears those living in rural areas are generally surrounded by higher levels of the gas than more urban areas such as London.

That said, the map reveals Dorset has little to worry about with the majority of the county showing a maximum radon potential of 1-3% which is low.

Places such as Bournemouth and Weymouth are doing even better, as these areas have a less than 1% maximum radon potential.

The yellow zone covers Dorchester and the surrounding areas along with much of the North Dorset Downs and reaches up to the Somerset border in places too.

There are small areas of the county that do show higher readings such as a patch in the South Dorset Downs, highlighted in dark brown, referencing a greater than 30% maximum radon potential.

How to check radon in your area

If you are concerned about the radon risk in your area, you can purchase a Radon Risk Report for £3.90 from the UK Government website, telling you if your home is in a radon affected area.

If it is, it’s recommended radon concentration in your home is measured. You will be posted two detectors to place in your home one in the living area and one in an occupied bedroom.

After three months you post the detectors back for them to be analysed. The results are then posted back to you. This will cost £52.80 and can be ordered through this link.

You can find out more about testing and view the interactive map via the UKradon website.