We know the dangers but we’re still not testing our homes for radon
Ireland has one of the highest average indoor concentrations of radon gas in the world, with some of the highest levels of radon concentrations anywhere in Europe found in homes and workplaces here.
These days, parents are vigilant to ensure that their children are aware of the dangers of smoking and do all they can to ensure they don’t take up the habit. However there is another, equally dangerous health risk associated with the silent presence of radon gas in Irish homes that, if goes undetected, can significantly increase the risk of lung cancer.
Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas formed in the ground by the radioactive decay of uranium which is present in varying quantities in all rocks and soils. It has no taste and no smell. While radon does not pose a health risk outdoors as it is diluted to very low levels, when high concentrations are found indoors, radon has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer. As many as 250 cases of lung cancer every year in Ireland can be linked to radon.
Radon typically enters a home by moving from the soil to the air through cracks in a home’s foundation. There is no way of knowing whether your home has a high concentration of radon unless you test and there is no way of knowing your health is being affected, as there are no symptoms associated with prolonged exposure to it.
High concentrations of radon gas indoors can increase the risk of lung cancer. Radon is the second cause of lung cancer after smoking and is the main cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It is therefore important to have your home checked for radon gas, have you not already done so and crucially, if high concentrations are found, that work is carried out to reduce those levels.
Three out of four Irish adults are aware of radon gas and six out of ten are aware of the health risks associated with exposure to radon gas in the home according to a body of research commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency.
While there is a high level of awareness, just over a quarter (27%) of adults claim they are concerned about the presence of radon gas in their own home. Only one in five Irish people (20%) are likely to have their homes tested.
Here you can see a map showing the areas predicted to be at particular risk from radon, called High Radon Areas. A High Radon Area is any area where it is predicted that 10 per cent or more of homes will exceed the Reference Level of 200 bequerel per cubic metre (Bq/m3). Any area that is coloured light or dark brown on the map is a High Radon Area.
Please note: High radon levels can be found in any home in any part of the country, but these homes are more likely to be located in High Radon Areas.
Among the key reasons for being unlikely to have your home tested for radon gas are “Believe my home to be unaffected by radon gas” (39%), being “Unaware of how to test for radon gas” (28%) and being “Unaware of who to go to for the test” (25%).
The good news is that radon is easy to detect, you can source registered radon measurement services or indeed apply for a radon test in your home on the website of the Environmental Protection Agency here.
The work to have the radon levels reduced in your home is not expensive and only costs on average about €1000. All the work is done outside the home, with no need to lift internal floors and in most cases can be carried out in just one day.
While most people are aware of what radon is and what its effects are only one in five people are likely to have their homes tested in Ireland. About one third of Ireland, mainly in the west and south-east is considered a High Radon Area (HRA), however high concentrations of radon can be found anywhere in the country.
All the advice and information you need is on www.radon.ie or you can contact the Environmental Protection Agency directly on Free Phone 1800 300 600 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Give yourself and your family peace of mind and take the radon test today”.
Protect your family’s health by taking a simple and inexpensive radon test as soon as possible. Give yourself and your family peace of mind and take the radon test today.
If you have already tested your home and know that you have high radon levels – contact the Environmental Protection Agency to find out how easy it is to reduce radon in your home. You’d be surprised how simple it is.