Over the last year Andium Homes has been testing the ground floors of more than 1,700 homes for the radioactive, colourless and odourless gas, which has been linked with causing lung cancer.
The survey results were, Andium says, largely positive, determining that just 42 homes – three per cent of the total tested – contained levels of radon that were above the 200 becqeurels per cubic metre safety limit recommended by Public Health England.
Similar tests carried out by Public Health Jersey in the past have suggested that around a fifth of properties in Jersey contained excessive levels of radon.
Mike Porter, Andium’s head of operations, said that further testing should be carried out across the Island because surveys to date have not been sufficient but have indicated a high number of homes could be at risk.
‘The Island historically, I think, has been a little bit poor on information in this area. Public Health Jersey over the years carried out a number of tests, totalling about 135 properties, I think,’ he said.
‘Their inspection rates were showing about a 20 per cent failure compared to the acceptable limit and I think that the highest level that they recorded was about 1,300 becquerels per cubic metre.
‘We decided, as part of our work here, to run a programme of testing for our own peace of mind, ensuring the safety of our clients, and to provide figures for Environmental Health.’
Mr Porter said that Andium tested 1,770 ground floor properties out of its portfolio of 4,550 homes and discovered much lower levels of radon than they had expected.
‘We expected to see something that compared pretty well with Public Health Jersey’s results – about a 20 per cent failure rate – and at the highest around 1,300 becquerel readings,’ he said.
‘But out of the 1,770 properties we tested we got just shy of 1,300 results back and only 42 were above the 200 becquerel radiation level recommended by Public Health England.
‘That’s only three per cent. Also, with the Public Health Jersey tests the highest result received was 1,300 becquerels while ours was 630, so again we were considerably less.’
Following the tests Andium has contacted the residents in each of the properties that failed the test and will be installing ventilation devices which help reduce radon contamination.
Mr Porters added, however, that there is ‘no rhyme or rhythm’ to where radon emissions occur and it is possible there could be more severe cases in the Island.
A spokeswoman for Andium said that they would like further and more thorough tests to be carried out Islandwide.
‘We don’t think enough of this is happening. There are a lot of homes out there which are not being tested,’ she said.
‘Our results are going to give Public Health a better picture but it’s not going to be as good as it could be.
‘We don’t have much for the north of the Island, for example, and it would be good to get a picture of the whole Island.’