EPA urges people in County Cork to check their homes for cancer-causing radon

Date released: October 04, 2023

  • Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. 
  • Every year in Ireland 350 lung cancer cases are linked to exposure to radon.
  • Many parts of County Cork are designated as a high radon risk area with one in five houses in these areas likely to have high radon.
  • EPA and Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Service today launched a digital radon monitor loan scheme. Digital radon monitors are now available to borrow free of charge from Council libraries across Cork County
  • Radon digital monitors can give a good indication of radon levels in your home. 

4th October 2023:  Today, at the National Radon Forum, the EPA and Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Service launched a library loan scheme of digital radon monitors and is calling on householders in County Cork to take the first step to protect themselves and their families from radon, a cancer-causing radioactive gas.   Many areas in County Cork are at high risk - with one in five homes in those areas likely to have high levels of radon.

Radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer, after smoking. The gas comes from rocks and soil in the ground under your home and can seep in through small cracks the foundations or gaps around service pipes. It has no smell, colour or taste. Outdoors, radon quickly dilutes to very low concentrations, but when it enters an enclosed space, such as a house, workplace or other building, it can accumulate to unacceptably high concentrations.

Speaking about the launch of the library loan scheme, Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr. Frank O’Flynn said: 

“With many parts of Cork known to have high indoor radon levels, I welcome the introduction of this loan scheme. The availability of radon digital monitors in our libraries will make it easier for everyone to take the first step in protecting their families from this harmful gas. I encourage people to borrow a monitor from their local library to help protect their family’s health.” 

Andy Fanning, EPA programme manager said: 

“Exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer and many families in Cork are unknowingly living with this silent killer in their homes. It is estimated that about 350 lung cancer cases every year in Ireland are linked to radon exposure. If high levels are identified, they can normally be reduced simply and this will immediately reduce the risk to you and your family.”

Borrowing a monitor - in the same way as you borrow a book for three weeks – will give a good indication of radon levels in a home.  To get an accurate measurement of radon levels, a three month test is required. You can visit www.radon.ie to get further information on testing your home and reducing high levels to keep you and your family safe.

Further information: Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or media@epa.ie


Notes to Editor: 


Radon is a radioactive gas that originates from the decay of uranium in rocks and soils. Exposure to radon is linked in up to 350 cases of lung cancer in Ireland each year. It has no smell, colour or taste. Outdoors, radon quickly dilutes to very low concentrations, but when it enters an enclosed space, such as a house, workplace or other building, it can accumulate to unacceptably high concentrations. 

High Radon Area: 

Some parts of the country are more at risk from radon than others. These areas are called high radon areas. You can check if you are living in a high radon area on the EPA’s interactive radon risk map.

Testing for radon: 

Digital reading: Digital monitors provide a “snapshot in time” of the radon levels in a building.  They are very useful as an indicator of radon levels.  They are also used to check that radon levels have been reduced following remediation work. However, results are indicative, and a three-month test is required to compare the levels of radon in a building with the national reference level of 200 Bq/m3 for homes.

The three month test is a legal requirement for workplace testing (the national reference level for workplaces is 300 Bq/m3).   

Three-month test: The three-month test is the most accurate and reliable way to test your home for radon. Two small detectors are sent to your home, one is placed in the bedroom and one in the living room, the rooms most occupied by the family. After three months they are returned to the service provider for analysis. The results will be sent to you together with some advice on what to do next. The whole process is done by post, it costs about €50 to €60 and there is no need for anyone to visit your home. 

What can be done to reduce high radon levels in a home?
Radon problems in a home can normally be fixed easily, relatively inexpensively and usually without disruption to the household. The EPA’s booklet Understanding Radon Remediation and this video will help you learn more about the solutions available and how best to deal with the problem. 

National Radon Forum: 

Today’s National Radon Forum is the 17th in a series of annual forums. The forums provide an opportunity for those with an organisational role to play in reducing the risk from radon in Ireland to review progress and to consider new strategies based on best international practice. The National Radon Forum brings together a broad range of stakeholders focused on addressing the radon problem in Ireland. At today’s Forum, attendees will hear from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications Environmental Protection Agency, Cork County Council and the Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage on the actions being taken under the Government’s National Radon Control Strategy to reduce the risk from radon.

National Radon Control Strategy (NRCS): 

The NRCS is a cross-Government strategy led by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.  The main goal of the NRCS is to reduce the number of radon related lung cancers in Ireland. It sets out actions to be taken by organisations including Government Departments and Agencies to meet this goal.