To coincide with UK Radon Awareness Week, leading experts in the field of radon management have undertaken a new piece of research which indicates that fewer than 10% of British adults are aware of the dangers of the gas, even though it is responsible for an estimated 1100 deaths annually as a result of the lung cancer it can cause.
In the lead up to the 2015 Radon Awareness Week, taking place between the 7th and 13th of November, a brand new study has been carried out in a bid to discover the awareness levels of radon gas amongst Britons.
UK Radon Association members (www.radonweek.co.uk) commissioned a poll of 2,884 UK adults aged 18 and over as part of the research. Participants were spread across an even range of each of the UK regions in order to generate as unbiased a set of results as possible.
Respondents were initially asked if they considered themselves to be knowledgeable in terms of environmental influences that have a negative effect on human health. The majority (84%) agreed that they felt relatively aware of the different dangers posed to them, with the remaining 16% admitting that they were lacking in knowledge regarding health warnings.
Next, participants were asked if they were able to list the symptoms that people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning can display, with more than three quarters (77%) able to correctly state at least one or more of the main warning signs, including headaches, light-headedness, depression, confusion, memory loss, nausea and vomiting.
When then asked if they were able to name any danger associated with long term exposure to the gas radon, fewer than one in ten individuals (9%) were able to indicate any risks, including that radon can cause lung cancer and is the second leading cause of the disease. Of these 9% of individuals, more than half (51%) admitted that they were only aware of the dangers of radon after hearing about it in relation to building works carried out (either their own, or a friend/family member’s).
Of the 91% of respondents unable to list any health dangers connected with radon gas, more than two thirds (67%) confessed to researchers that they were unaware that there were any health risks associated with radon in the first instance.
Martin Freeman, Chairman of UK Radon Association, made the following comments regarding the findings of the questionnaire:
“Unfortunately the results of this poll are not particularly shocking to us at the UK Radon Association; and the lack of knowledge surrounding the potential dangers associated with radon gas are one of the reasons we are so keen to highlight Radon Awareness Week 2015 and the fact that exposure is a major cause of lung cancer in the UK.”
“The simple, and sad, truth is that a majority of people aren’t aware of radon gas and its potential risks. Having said that, in recent years there have been significant technological advances both in methods for testing and remediating high levels of radon, so each death and illness occurring as a result of the gas is one that could have potentially been avoided with a better level of public understanding and awareness. We find that most people who are aware of radon take steps to ensure the safety of their family at home, so increasing awareness is the key to reducing these avoidable deaths.”