Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that causes lung cancer. It is formed in the ground by the radioactive decay of uranium which is present in all rocks and soils. You cannot see it, smell it or taste it. It can only be measured with special detectors. Radon can cause lung cancer when exposed to high levels over a long period of time. Every year in Ireland, radon causes about 300 cases of lung cancer.

Take action on your dose from radon

Radon in our environment

Radon can cause lung cancer and is in the same group of carcinogens as asbestos and tobacco smoke. In the air, radon decays quickly to produce radioactive particles that, when inhaled, are deposited in the airways and on lung tissue to give a radiation dose that can cause lung cancer.

What's happening with radon?

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Radon can enter your home from the ground through small cracks in floors and through gaps around pipes or cables. Radon gas can be sucked from the ground into a home because the indoor air pressure is usually slightly lower than outside. The reason for this is that warmer indoor air rises, resulting in slightly lower pressure indoors.  Homes and workplaces in some parts of the country are more likely to have a radon problem. These parts of the country are called High Radon Areas. You can check our interactive map to see whether your home or workplace is in a High Radon Area.  A radon test is the only way to know if there are high levels of radon where you are.

Health risks 

Testing

Fixing a radon problem

What's being done?

Since 2014, the Government has had a National Radon Control Strategy (NRCS) setting out the actions that are needed to reduce the number of radon related lung cancers in Ireland.

The EPA regularly holds a National Radon Forum to bring together all those that are working to reduce the exposure of the Irish public from radon to discuss progress in implementing the NRCS and the results of radon research.

By law, employers now have a responsibility to test their workplace for radon, when that workplace is in a High Radon Area or if it is an underground workplace. If the radon in your workplace is greater than 300 Bq/m3, you must take action to reduce radon levels to protect the health of workers. 

 

 

National Radon Control Strategy

National Radon Forum

Radon in workplaces

Latest report on Radon

in: Radon
National Radon Control Strategy backdrop
NRCS year-4 report to Government

National Radon Control Strategy Phase-1 (2014 - 2018)

Key achievements in delivering the actions set out in the National Radon Control Strategy

National Radon Control Strategy backdrop
NRCS knowledge gaps, Phase-2

Knowledge gaps to be addressed in Phase 2 of the NRCS

FAQs about radon

in: Radon

Radon is the largest source of radiation dose to the Irish population with more than half of your exposure due to this carcinogenic gas.

Popular FAQ's

  • How long does a radon test take?

    The EPA recommends a minimum measurement duration of three months. This is because there can be significant day to day variations in radon levels. Therefore the only way of confidently assessing your radon risk is by carrying out a three month test.  Only the results of a test carried out over at least three months can be compared to the national Reference Level.

  • My house has a standby radon sump installed - does this reduce radon in my home?

    No. Sumps that are installed at the construction stage are stand-by (or inactive) radon sumps. Standby sumps do not reduce radon levels in your home. They are a potential means of evacuating radon should the need arise. If, following a test, high radon levels are found, the sump can be activated by adding a fan.

  • Is there a radon grant to help me with the cost of remediation?

    There is no grant available to cover the cost of radon remediation. Some radon reduction techniques are more expensive than others and each one will need to be assessed on a case by case basis. However the typical price of retrofitting a radon sump into a standard house is approximately €925 (ranging from €400-€1500). Other less expensive options are available, for example, improving the ventilation in your home by installing extra wall vents. However, the most suitable method will depend on the radon levels and on the type of building.

    A Scheme of Housing Aid for Older People is available to assist older people, generally over 65 years, to have repairs or improvements carried out to their homes. Where a suite of works is being grant aided under this scheme, Local Authorities may also, as part of the package of works, assist with the provision of radon remediation works, where applicable. Contact the Housing Section of your Local Authority for further information. Additional information is also available from Citizen Information website.

  • What level of radon in a house should give cause for concern?

    The national Reference Level for long-term exposure to radon in a house, above which the need for remedial action should be considered, is 200 Bq/m3. A radon test should be carried out using two radon detectors each placed in a bedroom and a living room for at least three months. The average of the two rooms is seasonally corrected to take account of the months of the year that the measurement was made, and it is this seasonally corrected average that is compared to the national Reference Level.

  • Does smoking increase the risk from radon-linked lung cancer?

    Yes.  Like tobacco smoke, radon is classified as a Class A carcinogen.  The combination of tobacco and radon magnifies the risk of lung cancer. Smokers account for approximately nine out of ten radon-linked lung cancer cases in Ireland.  The radon risk to an active smoker is 25 times greater than to a lifelong non-smoker. 

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