Research and analysis

Radon: analysis of remediation methods

This report (HPA-CRCE-019) presents scientific evidence about the performance range of techniques for reducing high levels of radon in UK homes.

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Radon gas in the home is:

  • a major source of public radiation exposure
  • an established cause of lung cancer

A range of techniques are available to reduce high indoor radon concentrations in homes. Information on some 2,700 radon remediation projects has been analysed with the aim of identifying the factors that influence the performance of various remediation methods, including:

  • the specific remediation techniques applied
  • the physical characteristics of the home
  • the radon level before remediation
  • who carried out the work

The analysis shows that each method used to reduce radon levels has a range of performance which is influenced by some factors, but is independent of others. Each remediation method showed a trend in performance with respect to the initial radon concentration. Higher initial radon concentrations offer greater relative reductions when remediated. However, homes with higher initial concentration measures were less likely to achieve reductions below the Action Level (200 Bq m³).

Overall, an active sump system is most likely to offer a substantial reduction, on average 6 fold. Other methods are less effective, reducing levels by a typical factor of about 2. Passive ventilation and sealing are least effective. This analysis does not support firm conclusions about the relative performance of different types of remediators and householders who do ‘DIY’. Typical costs have been estimated, with active sumps being the most expensive at around £800.

This information will be used to update guidance for householders and others such as contractors, using:

  • fact sheets
  • presentations at radon householder events
  • UKradon