Government establish high level group to reduce lung cancer deaths due to radon in Ireland

Date released: Nov 24 2011

Radon is linked to up to 200 lung cancer deaths each year in Ireland.

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) has welcomed the announcement by Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan, TD, of the establishment of an inter-agency group to develop a National Radon Control Strategy for Ireland. Nationally, radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer after smoking and is directly linked to about 200 lung cancer deaths each year.

The Minister announced the establishment of the inter-agency group at the opening of the National Radon Forum in Dublin. The group is tasked with recommending a strategy to reduce the number of cases of lung cancer from this radioactive gas.

Dr Ann Mc Garry, Chief Executive of the RPII, said: “We welcome today’s announcement by the Minister. The establishment of this group bringing together experts from key departments and agencies is crucial to addressing the radon problem in Ireland in a comprehensive and effective way.”

The development of a National Radon Control Strategy for Ireland was recommended in the joint position statement issued last year by the RPII and the Health Service Executive, which recognised radon as an important public health hazard. This initiative is in line with best international practice as outlined by the World Health Organisation. 

The National Radon Forum, which was chaired by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, heard from experts from the HSE, the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority and the RPII on different aspects of the radon issue. It is the ninth in a series of annual fora that provide an opportunity for those with a role to play in reducing the risk from radon in Ireland to review progress and to consider new strategies based on best international practice. 

Detailed information on radon and its risks, including information on how to get your home or workplace tested for radon is available on the website or on freefone 1800 300 600.

ENDS  

Notes to Editors 

The inter-agency group comprises members from the following: Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (Chair), Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland, Health Service Executive, Health and Safety Authority, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Geological Survey of Ireland, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, County and City Managers' Association and Department of Health and Children.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that originates from the decay of uranium in rocks and soils. It has no smell, colour or taste and can only be detected using special detectors. Outdoors, radon quickly dilutes to harmless concentrations but when it enters an enclosed space, such as a house or other building, it can accumulate to unacceptably high concentrations.