Radon: The Silent Killer – EPA Calls For People To Test Homes For Radon

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling on people in High Radon Areas to test their homes for radon.  Since 2010 the EPA’s Office of Radiological Protection has carried out awareness campaigns in the 12 radon priority counties and undertaken testing for 4,700 householders. Of the homes tested, over 700 had raised radon levels and almost 80 had extremely high radon levels. Radon is second only to smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer.  It is estimated that some 250 lung cancer cases each year in Ireland are linked to radon exposure.

To find out if your house is in a High Radon Area, simply type your address into the interactive radon map on the EPA’s website www.radon.ie

David Fenton, Senior Scientist with the EPA’s Office of Radiological Protection said:

“Every two days someone dies from a radon induced lung cancer in Ireland – since 2010 some 1,700 people have died from this preventable health problem.  Since beginning our campaigns we have found some extremely high radon levels in homes. The reduction of these extremely high levels will overtime save lives.  Radon is only a problem if it is ignored. You can protect your family by testing your home for radon and, where high levels are found, reducing those levels.  Fixing radon problems in a home is relatively straightforward and inexpensive.”

The EPA recently ran an information campaign in Wicklow to raise awareness and encourage people to test their homes. The campaign coincided with European Radon Awareness Day.  The EPA highlighted Wicklow as a priority county as it has one of the highest incidences of radon in homes in Ireland. One home tested in Wicklow was found to have over 80 times the national reference level or acceptable level. This level can deliver a radiation dose equivalent to 56 chest X-rays every day.  The radon levels in this house were subsequently successfully reduced.

Mr Fenton added,

“Radon is everywhere but its risk to human health can be managed. For this reason we will continue with our awareness efforts into the future.  The EPA has undertaken targeted local campaigns most recently in Wicklow and in recent years in Sligo, Carlow, Waterford, Tipperary, Galway, Kerry, Wexford, Louth, Kilkenny, Mayo and Clare. We plan to return to Wicklow next year to build upon the outcomes of the recent campaign.”

Measuring for Radon is an inexpensive, straightforward process that is easy to do. Radon test kits can be ordered from the EPA or from other radon measurement services. The test kit includes two radon detectors – one should be placed in the bedroom and one in the living room. After three months, the detectors can be posted back to the provider. A full test report is sent by post, with advice on how to deal with high radon readings. The cost of a radon test is around €50 depending on which radon measurement company you choose. To find out more visit www.radon.ie or call 1800 300 600.

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