In a 12-month survey of a sample of Mayo homes for the detection of radon gas, 13 per cent were found to be above the recommended level.
Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny TD, has been in contact with the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland regarding levels of radon gas in Mayo. Deputy Kenny has had an interest in this matter for many years. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can cause cancer if exposed to it over a lengthy period.
Over the past year in Mayo, radon gas tests were carried out in 1,184 homes selected at random. In the survey, 13 per cent of Mayo homes were above the recommended level. The national average is seven per cent. Claremorris, Swinford, Foxford, and Ballina were all high level areas.
In a further survey of 1,800 houses, the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland has revised its figure upwards to 16 per cent of houses being above the reference level.
“This is a relatively serious problem and I intend to hold discussions with the Radiological Protection Institute, Chairperson of Mayo County Council Cllr Joe Mellett, and the HSE in regard to schools affected,” Dep Kenny said. “People should be aware that exposure over 20 years represents a serious risk from radon. Indeed heavy smokers are 25 times more at risk than non-smokers. I commend the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland for their information campaigns to date but more needs to be done by the HSE, Department of Education, and the local authority in order that all actions be taken to present persons contracting cancer through long-term exposure to what is a natural gas seeping up through the earth in areas where we live.”