AN expert in radioactive gas has explained why there are radon hotspots within Dorset and what people can do if they are concerned.

Radon is formed by radioactive decay from the small amounts of uranium that can be found naturally in all rocks and soils. This means that radon is everywhere including buildings but the levels are usually low.

Dorset Echo recently reported on the hotspots of the radioactive gas across the county according to an interactive map published by Public Health England.

A broad look at Dorset shows low levels of radon across the county, with higher levels in Abbotsbury, Portland, Portesham and Upwey and some coastal areas such as Burton Bradstock, Lyme Regis and West Lulworth.

Chair of UK Radon Association, Rebecca Coates, explained that many parts of Dorset are classified as radon ‘affected areas’ due to its differing geologies in different areas.

She said: “Radon levels vary worldwide according to the underlying local geology.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

“The maps that you have previously looked at and reproduced are created using a combination of historic test data from Public Health England and its predecessors and geological mapping data from British Geological Survey.

“Radon is a ground gas produced from the decomposition of uranium deposits present in the rocks and soil beneath us. Differing geologies contain different amounts of uranium, hence the variations of the map.”

Mrs Coates added that Public Health England’s map provides an estimate to the probability of finding properties with elevated levels in any given area but “are not definitive nor can they tell you what the radon level in a specific property is.”

Long term exposure to elevated levels of radon increases the risk of lung cancer, with radon linked to more than 1,100 deaths from the disease in the UK every year. It is responsible for approximately nine per cent of lung cancer cases across Europe.

If Dorset residents are concerned about the radon levels in their area, she suggested that people should carry out a test in their homes using small detectors.

Mrs Coates said: “To reduce your risk, the best thing to do is carry out a radon test in your home.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

“This simply involves placing two small detectors in your property for a period of three months before returning them to a laboratory for analysis.

“Detectors are available from PHE or alternatively a number of UKRA members provide test kits that can be sent and returned via post.

“This service tends to cost in the region of £40 - £50, including the analysis and reporting.”

A list of companies approved by UK Radon Association providing radon tests can be found at