Homeowners not acting on radon risk

Radon enters a building from the ground through small cracks in floors and through gaps around pipes or cables and tends to be sucked from the ground into a building because the indoor air pressure is usually slightly lower than outdoors. Illustration: EPA.

Radon enters a building from the ground through small cracks in floors and through gaps around pipes or cables and tends to be sucked from the ground into a building because the indoor air pressure is usually slightly lower than outdoors. Illustration: EPA.

A grant scheme has been mooted to assist householders in Mayo to protect themselves against the deadly, cancer causing gas - radon.

Mayo is one of the worst radon blackspots in the country with a startling one in six of the dwellings tested by the Environmental Protection Agency showing up with unsafe levels, and 10 per cent of homes having ‘unacceptably high levels’ of the gas.

In response to this the agency recently launched a major awareness campaign in Mayo to highlight the dangers of radon to householders and encourage people in Mayo to have their homes tested as a matter of urgency.

But despite the alarming statistics and awareness initiatives not enough homeowners in Mayo are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves against this major public health risk, according to Fine Gael Deputy Michelle Mulherin.

She now wants to see a grant scheme introduced to encourage householders here to have their homes tested for radon and install radon barriers if required.

Radon is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas that occurs naturally in the decay of certain types of rock and soil. When it accumulates to high levels in an enclosed space, such as a home, it poses a serious lung cancer risk to the occupants.

Deputy Mulherin has put her concerns about Mayo’s radon levels to the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly.

While the Minister has no immediate plan to establish a grant scheme, he did not rule it out altogether, she outlined.

“The National Radon Control Strategy coordination group is looking at a wide range of initiatives that seek to better address radon issues and pending the outcome of the group’s findings, I am hopeful that a grant scheme may be considered,” explained Deputy Mulherin.

Radon gas is linked with 250 cases of lung cancer in Ireland each year.

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