Donegal householders have been told that while many are aware of the dangers of radon which can cause lung cancer, not all are likely to test their homes for it.
It comes as a survey exploring Irish attitudes towards radiation found that 28 per cent of people are concerned about radiation. In Ireland, radon accounts for more than half of our radiation exposure.
However, while awareness of radon gas is high, two out of three people said that they are unlikely to test their home, believing their homes to be unaffected by radon.
Commenting on the survey, Stephanie Long, EPA Senior Scientist said,
“Many people don’t know that radon is the largest contributor to radiation dose in Ireland. If there is a high radon level in your home, it is exposing you and your family to unnecessary radiation.
While radon levels in certain parts of the country are higher than, others the gas can be found in homes of all types and ages throughout the country. Yet, despite the risks there continues to be a reluctance amongst householders to protect their health by testing their homes for radon.”
Reducing radon levels in homes and other buildings is simple and inexpensive and immediately reduces the risk of developing lung cancer.
For moderate levels of radon, improving indoor ventilation may reduce the level by up to half. For higher levels, a fan assisted sump can be installed which can reduce radon levels by over 90 per cent. The sump can be installed in one day by a contractor with little disruption to the home.
Clinical psychologist Dr Clare Kambamettu is a homeowner who found high levels of radon in her home, which she acted on and remediated. Clare had a radon sump installed in her Galway home which addressed the high radon levels. Clare commented:
“We were worried when our test showed high levels of radon in our home. We soon found out that the solution was surprisingly easy. Most of the work was done quickly from the outside of our home with very little disruption. And the best part was that once the work was done, the risk was gone too, as our radon levels were reduced so much.”
For more information on radon and to find a list of registered radon testing and remediation services, visit https://www.epa.ie/our-services/monitoring--assessment/radiation/national-radon-control-strategy/ or freefone 1 800 300 600.
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas formed in the ground from the radioactive decay of uranium which is present in all rocks and soils. It has no smell, colour or taste and can only be detected using radon detectors. Outdoors, radon quickly dilutes to harmless levels, but when it enters an enclosed space - such as a house or other building - it can accumulate to unacceptably high levels. Radon is a carcinogen and is linked to some 300 lung cancer cases each year in Ireland, making it a serious public health hazard.
About a third of Ireland is classified as a high radon area by the EPA. However, the EPA recommends that homeowners in all areas test their homes for radon.
You can find a list of EPA registered radon measurement services and details about how to test and fix your home on www.radon.ie. The test costs about €50 and is all done by post using one of the services registered with the EPA.
Testing a home
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 completed by post and there is no need for anyone to visit your home.
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