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Parts of Wicklow identified as high risk in new radon maps of Ireland


Updated radon risk maps have been released by the EPA. Photo: EPA.

Updated radon risk maps have been released by the EPA. Photo: EPA.

Updated radon risk maps have been released by the EPA. Photo: EPA.


Residents across Wicklow are being urged to get radon testing after areas of the county were identified as high risk by the Environmental Protection Agency.

New radon maps, launched by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  update the radon risk assessment and show an increased risk from radon in Ireland, with 170,000 homes now predicted to be at risk of radon exposure above the national reference level.

The new maps  show that large parts of Wicklow have been found to be at increased risk from radon. This means that these areas are considered by the EPA to be more at risk from radon than other areas. 

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It has no smell, colour or taste and can only be detected using special detectors. 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. Exposure to radon gas is linked to lung cancer.

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Parts of the Garden County are classed as high risk on the new map, meaning the EPA considers about one in five homes are likely to have high radon levels. 

Some coastal areas of the county are categorised as lower risk, meaning about one in 20 homes in the area are likely to have high radon levels.

The EPA’s website includes an interactive radon map which can be filtered by Eircode. 

Deputy Jennifer Whitmore said “exposure to radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and is responsible for approximately 350 lung cancer deaths every year. Given these cancers are preventable, we need to do much more to reduce radon levels in homes. The good news is that there are things that can be done to help.

“The updated EPA map does confirm that parts of Wicklow are exposed to higher levels of radon. I would encourage homeowners in Wicklow to check out the map first and if you are in a particularly high-risk area, get your home checked for radon levels. This can be done relatively easily and affordable by purchasing a simple monitor (approximately €50) from a registered Radon testing service. These are listed on the EPA website.

“If radon is identified in your home, there are measures that can be undertaken to make your home safer. However, cost can be a barrier here if works need to be carried out. I have asked the Minister if there are plans to implement grants for people so they are able to afford remediation if it turns out their home is exposed to higher radon levels.”

Deputy Whitmore pointed out that there are legal requirements for employers to test for radon levels, but these do not apply to the home sales or rentals. 

“Given radon poses such a serious threat to public health, the government must act now to mitigate that risk by mandating radon testing whenever homes are being sold or rented. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to get their home tested for radon” concludes Whitmore.