Sixteen per cent of homes measured in Mayo have high levels of cancer causing radon gas, according to the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII ). Radon, a colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas is linked to up to 200 lung cancer deaths each year in Ireland. The RPII has urged Mayo homeowners to install radon detection equipment in order to ensure that they are not at risk from this threat.
Dr Ann McGarry, Chief Executive of the RPII, said: “Because radon is odourless, colourless and tasteless, many people are unknowingly living with dangerous levels of radiation in their homes. Homeowners, especially those in high radon areas, need to take this matter seriously and measure radon levels in their homes to ensure that they and their families are not at risk.”
Since establishing its radon measurement programme in the early 1990s, the RPII has measured almost 38,000 homes in Ireland. However, by the end of 2009, just over five per cent (4,922 ) of the estimated 91,000 homes above the national reference level have been identified.
The RPII has redeveloped its website (www.rpii.ie ) so that anyone can now search for their address on an interactive radon map to see whether their home or workplace is in a high radon area. They can find out what they need to know about radon – what it is, why it is a problem and how they can have a measurement made. Information can also be obtained on freefone 1800 300 600.
Measuring for radon and, in the event of a high reading, reducing the levels present are both relatively inexpensive. To test for radon, one radon detector is placed in a bedroom and a second in a living room for a three-month period. The detectors are small and can be sent and returned by post for analysis. The RPII and a number of private companies provide a radon measurement service. The cost of a measurement is between €40 and €80.