Neil McColl, Head of Dosimetry Services at HPA, opened the conference by discussing what the key messages regarding radon are and who needs to hear them. In answer to the second question, Mr McColl listed a wide range of interested parties, including householders, landlords, property buyers & sellers and employers, who should be testing their premises to assess the risk to the building occupants. The media, builders, public health officials and researchers need also be aware of radon so that the number of avoidable deaths attributed to radon exposure each year can be reduced. Mr McColl said that the aim of the HPA’s communications on radon are to promote awareness of radon as a “serious but manageable health risk”, to provide reliable and understandable information and to stimulate action, such as carrying out radon testing and radon remediation in affected buildings.
Nicky Hutt continued to explain the methods HPA uses to deliver its messages, including the UK Radon website and Press Officer Matthew Pardo showed some of the news coverage that has been gained over recent months.
Alex Stuart discussed how the issue of radon and its associated risks could be dealt with in the community as part of an overall public health strategy, and David Fenton from the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland spoke about their experiences in communicating and influencing decision makers and the public about radon in Ireland.
The conference, which was attended by representatives from the Department of Health, BRE, several Local Authorities, radon testing companies and radon remediation specialists closed with an open discussion entitled “Can we do better?”. The Radon Tee campaign is doing its bit to help spread awareness of radon to as many parts of the community as possible, and its progress can be followed at www.facebook.com/
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