Saturday 17 March 2018

Campile house had 20 times acceptable level of radon gas

A COUNTY WEXFORD home was found with 20 times the acceptable level of the cancer-causing gas, radon, the highest level of radon found in a Wexford home to date.

The home, near Campile, had radon levels which were the equivalent to 13 chest X-rays every day for the homeowner.

A total of 15 Wexford homes were found with high levels in the last eight months.

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) identified the home near Campile where the occupants were receiving a radiation dose equivalent to 13 chest X-rays every day. Radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer after smoking and is directly linked to some 250 lung cancers in Ireland each year.

Commenting on the latest findings Stephanie Long, Senior Scientist at the RPII, said: 'We know that Wexford has a particular problem with one in six homes tested to date found to be above the acceptable level. Many Wexford families are unknowingly exposed to high levels of radon and we would urge all homeowners to carry out this simple and inexpensive test to protect their families from this health risk.'

In addition, five homes were found with up to ten times the acceptable level of radon, three of which were in Enniscorthy, with the others in Gorey and Bunclody. A further nine homes were found throughout the county with radon above the acceptable level.

Ms Long said: 'Of concern to us is that only one in four homeowners, having tested and found a high reading, have taken action to reduce the high level of radon present. That means three quarters of homeowners are living with the knowledge that they are putting their family at risk when the problem can easily be fixed.'

To test for radon, one radon detector is placed in a bedroom and the second in a living room for a three-month period. The detectors are sent and returned by post for analysis.

The RPII and a number of private companies provide a radon measurement service. The cost of a measurement is around €50 depending on which measurement company is chosen.

If a moderate radon level is found, improving indoor ventilation may reduce the level by up to half, the cost of which is low. For higher levels, a fan assisted sump can be installed which can reduce radon levels by over 90 per cent.

Information can also be obtained by phoning Freefone 1800 300 600.

Enniscorthy Guardian