Cost-effectiveness of radon remediation programmes in the UK in the 2020s

Anthony Roger Denman*, Chris Groves-Kirkby, Robin Crockett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Radon, a gaseous radioactive decay product of naturally-occurring uranium is widely distributed in the environment in rocks and soils and, in certain circumstances, can accumulate in the built environment. Initial studies confirmed a direct link between exposure to both radon gas and its short-lived radioactive progeny, and increased lung-cancer incidence, and demonstrated that radon levels in domestic housing can be sufficiently high to expose occupants to increased risk of lung- cancer. Subsequent studies worldwide have shown that it is cost-effective to detect and reduce domestic radon levels in order to reduce this risk.
Recent advances in the early detection of lung-cancer, coupled with the development of improved treatment procedures, have progressively improved survival from the disease, with the numbers surviving at 5 years doubling over recent years, during which period the real costs of lung cancer treatment have risen by around 30 %. In the meantime, however, in addition to radon and tobacco- smoke, other airborne pollutants have been identified as risk-factors for lung-cancer. This paper reviews both these actual developments and anticipated future trends, and concludes that since these advances in diagnosis and treatment of lung-cancer have had only a modest effect on cost- effectiveness, it is still important to conduct radon monitoring and remediation programmes. While the general increase in life-expectancy improves the cost-effectiveness of radon remediation programmes significantly, reducing tobacco-smoking incidence reduces that cost-effectiveness but with the overall benefit of reducing radon-related lung-cancers. The challenge remains of encouraging affected householders to remediate their homes to reduce radon levels.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106351
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Early online date18 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Radon
  • Remediation
  • Cost Effectiveness
  • Lung Cancer
  • Survival
  • Life years Lost


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