Over 50 Tipperary homes found with high levels of cancer-causing radon gas

More than ten per cent of Tipperary homes recently tested for radon were found to have high levels of the

cancer-causing gas according to figures released by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII).

Over 300 homes from across the country have been identified by the RPII as having high levels of radon in the last seven months. Nationally, radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer after smoking and is directly linked to up to 200 lung cancer deaths each year.

In Tipperary, 502 homes were tested for radon gas between June 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 following a comprehensive awareness campaign carried out by the RPII in the south of the county in May 2011. Of the 502 homes tested, 54 were above the acceptable level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3).

The remaining 53 homes had readings above and up to four times the acceptable level and were found in: Clonmel (24), Cahir (13), Carrick On Suir (11), Ardfinnan (1), Ballina (1), Cashel (1), Clogheen (1) and Fethard (1)

Commenting on the findings, Mr David Fenton, Senior Scientist at the RPII said: “These figures show that South Tipperary has a significant radon problem. Our research shows that there are hundreds more homes across the county with high levels of radon gas. up til now, only a very small proportion of these homes have been identified. Exposure to high radon levels can causes lung cancer and many people are unknowingly living with very high levels in their homes. The only way to really know i is by having their homes is by tested.”

Measuring for radon and, in the event of a high reading, reducing the levels present are both easy to do. 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 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 around €50.

If a moderate radon level is found, improving indoor ventilation may reduce the level by up 50% the cost of which is low. For higher levels, a fan assisted sump can be installed which can reduce radon levels by over 90%. The sump can be installed in a day by a contractor would causelittle disruption to the home. The average cost of the work is around €1,100 with running costs of approximately €90 a year.


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