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Radon, cigarette packaging and the breakfast cereal cancer scare

By Alisdair Stirling

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Wednesday 9 March.

The Daily Telegraph warns that 200,000 homes are at risk of lung cancer caused by high levels of the naturally-occurring radioactive gas radon. A new Health Protection Agency website allows households to calculate the level of gas in their area.

Radon occurs naturally in soil, particularly in areas with granite such as the south-west and the Peak District, and although it generally dissipates harmlessly, outdoors it is the second biggest cause of lung cancer in the UK, the Telegraph says.

The Government is today expected to unveil proposals that will force tobacco companies to sell cigarettes in plain, unbranded packaging, reports The Independent. Under the guidelines, packets will lose their logos, graphics and distinctive colours, leaving health warnings as the most noticeable marking. The move will make England the first country in Europe to have plain packaging, the paper says.

Still on packaging the Daily Mail warns that breakfast cereals, pasta, rice and other foods packed in cardboard boxes could be tainted with toxic chemicals. The substances appear to be leaching from the recycled paper used to make most cardboard boxes. They could also potentially lead to cancer if consumed in high amounts over many years. Leading British breakfast cereals are investigating making changes to their packaging, the paper says.

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…

Daily Digest