8 Apr, 2024 @ 10:59
1 min read

Radon warning in Spain: These are the areas most at risk from the invisible radioactive gas – which is the second biggest cause of lung cancer

THE second biggest cause of lung cancer, radon gas is sweeping Spain and THESE are the areas most at risk from the invisible radioactive gas. 

The west of Spain is particularly affected by radon gas, alongside Andalucia and Andorra. Source: CSN

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Just behind smoking, radon gas is the second biggest cause of lung cancer in Spain. 

Each year, 2000 people die as a result of the natural but dangerous gas found all over the country. 

Radon gas was discovered in 1900 and only 40 years later, scientists discovered it was a possible carcinogen. 

This was confirmed in 1988 by the International Agency for Cancer Research. 

Since then, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates up to 14% of lung cancer cancer are caused by exposure to radon gas. 

Undetectable by humans, it is a ‘silent killer’, causing radioactive particles to bind to the lung lining.

The gas forms when radium and uranium break down.

As these elements are commonly found in construction materials, making radon gas the most common natural source of radioactivity.

Granite emits the most radon gas, especially if it is very old and worn. 

If used in houses, it can accumulate inside and if left, will stay there as long as the house remains. 

In December 2022, the Spanish government approved a decree to protect Spaniards from the gas. 

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Now the Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (The Advisory for Nuclear Security) has published a technical note showing the areas of Spain where radon emissions need to be tackled. 

But, according to the radon awareness group, vivesinradon.org, the CSN left out ‘medium risk’ locations, where it is still obligatory to install anti radon measures when building new properties. 

If you live in an at risk area, the Real Decreto 1029/2022 recommends request radon monitors to be sent to you. 

These measure the radon in your home for up to three months, preferably avoiding July and August. 

Then, you send them back to the government, who will analyse them and send you the results. 

According to the WHO, between 3-14% of all lung cancer cases are linked to radon gas. 

In Spain, this translates to between 900 and 4333 people.

To check whether your area is affected by the gas, click here.

READ MORE: The best fruit and veg with low calories that you can enjoy without limits – according to an expert dietician in Spain

Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email [email protected]

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