RPII urge homeowners in Carlow to take the radon test

Date released: Oct 04 2010

Nearly 1 in 6 homes measured in Carlow has high levels of cancer-causing radon gas.

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) is again urging the people of Carlow to test their homes for the radioactive gas radon, a deadly gas which is linked to up to 200 lung cancer deaths each year in Ireland. Radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer after smoking and Carlow has one of the highest incidences in the country of homes with high radon levels. 

To date, the RPII has measured over 900 homes in Carlow and found nearly 1 in 6 to have high levels of radon gas. However, as there are more than 17,000 homes in Co. Carlow only a small fraction have tested for radon and therefore many families are living with a risk to their health. 

Two homes measured this year, in Borris and Myshall, had more than four times the acceptable level with readings in excess of 800 becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3). The radiation dose to the occupants of the home with the highest radon levels were equivalent to receiving approximately 3 chest X-rays per day. 

Mr David Fenton, Senior Scientist at the RPII said: “The families that have measured have done the right thing in addressing the radon problem. However, many thousands of families in Carlow remain completely unaware that they may be exposed to high levels of this radioactive gas which is linked to lung cancer. People need to take the radon test.” 

“Testing for radon and, in the event of a high reading, reducing the levels present are both straightforward. To test for radon, one radon detector is placed in a bedroom and a second in a living room. The detectors are small and are sent and returned by post. There is no need for anyone to visit your home to make the test.” 

The RPII charge €56 (inc. VAT) for a test, prices vary from other test suppliers. Detailed information on radon, its risks, how to get your home or workplace tested, a list of test suppliers and how to reduce high levels, if present, is available on the website or on Freefone 1800 300 600. “Homeowners need to take this matter seriously and measure radon levels in their home. It doesn’t matter if you live in a new or old house, or even if your home already has a radon barrier. The only way to make sure that you and your family are not at risk is to test”, concluded Mr Fenton of the RPII.