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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 20 October 2020
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Over 90,000 homes may have 'dangerous levels' of radon gas... just 8% have been checked

The radioactive gas is linked to 250 cases of lung cancer every year in Ireland.

Radon A map showing what areas could have higher-than-normal levels of the gas. Source: RPII.ie

Click here to view a larger version.

TENS OF THOUSANDS of homes across the country could be at risk of cancer-causing radon gas, but just a fraction have been checked according to Ireland’s radioactivity watchdog.

Many homes can be easily checked for the gas.

Radon is a common radioactive gas, making up a portion of natural background radiation nationwide, produced by the decay of several forms of rock, such as limestone and granite.

In higher concentrations in certain areas it can pose a danger to health, and is linked to 250 cases of lung cancer each year.

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) has released figures showing that 181 homes have been identified as containing “high levels” of the gas in past eight month.

Four homes – two in Ballindooley and Castlegar, Co. Galway, one in the Campile area of Co. Wexford and one in Ballisodare, Co. Sligo – had levels equivalent to 15 chest X-rays a day.

Roughly 8,000 other homes identified as high-risk have been checked.

However, the risk posed by the gas is still unknown for the 83,000 homes in danger areas.

Radon test kit.jpg File photo of one style of radon test kit. Source: Wikimedia

Homeowners can purchase radon detectors, or contact the RPII to request a house check.

“Of concern to us is that only 1 in 4 homeowners, having tested and found a high reading, have taken action to reduce the high level of radon present,” chief executive Dr Ann McGarry said.

That means three quarters of homeowners are living with the knowledge that they are putting their family at risk when the problem can easily be fixed.

Remedial work when high levels of radon are found include the installation of fan-assisted sump, costing in the region of €850.

More information on how to test your home is available on RPII.ie

Read: Selling your home? You might have to test it for radon >

Calm down: Higher radiation levels at Sellafield were just ‘background radon’ >

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Nicky Ryan

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