Prisoners Evacuated After Radioactive Gas Detected

Inmates have been transferred out of a UK jail in the last three months as a result of the closure of almost 200 cells caused by the discovery of radioactive gas.

The prisoner transfers were conducted at HMP Dartmoor in Devon because of the presence of radon, a gas that is both odorless and colorless and may cause serious sickness from long-term exposure. Although it is not explicitly stated, it is widely believed that the gas is the main reason for their removal.

According to the EPA, the noble gas cannot be detected by the human senses alone since it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. As the second leading cause of lung cancer, radon is a pollutant that impacts indoor air quality worldwide.

The Labour Party published the data in an array of questions to ministers. The party expressed dismay at the government’s handling of the prison estate, which they claimed is causing a capacity problem and forcing them to lower the number of jail beds.

The Ministry of Justice has stated that measures were not put in place until 2022, but the harmful gas first became known in 2020, shadow prisons minister Ruth Cadbury MP said.

According to a spokeswoman, the Prison Service has transferred many inmates as a precaution after regular testing that found higher-than-normal levels of radon. There are no risks for the workers or convicts who are still on site, and this is only a temporary solution until the permanent reduction of radon levels is finished.

The CDC notes that most people get exposed to radon when they breathe in air containing radon that has leached into their houses via holes and crevices.  Inhaled radioactive particles from decaying radon, which is present in all soils and rocks, may harm DNA and increase the risk of lung cancer over time.