Hidden risk from radon in homes

Radioactive gas can be found across France

More than a dozen houses in Brittany have been found to have up to six times the alert levels of radon, the colourless, odourless, radio­active gas which can cause cancer.

Although radon occurs naturally in the decay chain of uranium into lead – and especially in granite rocks such as those found in Morbihan and Finistère – the homes in question are thought to be built on spoil heaps from old uranium mines near Persquen.

Homes in other regions may also have problems as the gas seeps out of underlying volcanic rock and can make under-ventilated rooms dangerous. Areas where the gas is found in high concentration include Brittany, Nor­mandy, the Massif Central and Cor­sica.

Tests are being carried out on the Brittany homes. If natural radon seepage is the cause it may be costly for owners – and the health risk is significant as continuing high-level radon exposure can ...

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