High radon gas levels detected at Highland schools
- 14 February 2014
- From the section Highlands & Islands
High levels of radon gas have been detected at several schools in the Highlands.
Parents of pupils at Glen Urquhart High School and primary, Helmsdale Primary, Halkirk Primary and Kilchuimen Academy and primary have been informed.
Highland Council said measures would be put in place to reduce the levels.
Radon is a naturally-occurring gas but, being radioactive, it can cause cancer. NHS Highland said the risks to staff and pupils were "very low".
Hugh Fraser, Highland Council's director of education, culture and sport, said action could be taken to reduce the levels without the schools having to close.
Dr Ken Oates, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Highland, said: "The increased risk to pupils or staff of developing lung cancer, caused by exposure to radon while at school, is very low indeed.
"Smoking is a much greater risk of lung cancer and so it is much more important that people don't smoke."
He added: "There is no evidence that exposure to radon increases the risk of other cancers.
"Exposure to radon does not cause short-term health effects such as shortness of breath, coughing, headaches or fever, or long-term chest conditions such as asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive lung disease."