Radon tests offered to East Renfrewshire homes

AN estimated 300 homes in East Renfrewshire are to be offered free radon gas tests amid concerns that there could be high level pockets in the area.

East Renfrewshire council has issued letters to areas which could be affected, offering free tests in collaboration with the Scottish government and the Public Health England (PHE) Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards.

Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless, naturally-occurring radioactive gas - and prolonged exposure to high levels has been linked with lung cancer, particular in smokers.

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An ERC spokesman told The Extra: “Historically it was usually parts of the country where homes were built on granite - such as Aberdeenshire and Cornwall - that were flagged up as having high levels of radon, but PHE are now checking areas of the country where homes are built on other types of rock.

“Only 300 homes in parts of Giffnock close to the old quarry sites, and parts of Barrhead and Thornliebank, could have levels of radon above the action level.

“The homes that will receive letters are mainly small clusters within the same area.”

Affected householders are asked to complete a form attached to the letter being sent out, which can be returned to PHE in a prepaid envelope. The radon measurement equipment will then be sent out, and East Renfrewshire council will be informed.

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The council spokesman added: “Should a property show results above the recommended action level, the situation can be dealt with by increasing the ventilation in the subfloor of the property.”

The 300 East Ren homes thought to be affected are among 2,000 across central Scotland - but according to Neil McColl, head of radon at PHE, less than one in 10 tested will actually have high levels of radon.

He added: “But it’s only by testing that people will know if they need to take steps to protect their health.”

East Renfrewshire environment convener Vincent Waters commented: “I would strongly encourage the people of East Renfrewshire who receive a letter to respond to it.

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“It will help assess the risk from radon in the area, and find out if there is a need to reduce the radon health risk in the home.”

All enquiries on the subject can be directed to the PHE Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon OX11 0RQ, or by calling 01235 822622.