Almost 200 Wicklow homeowners have carried out a radon test in their homes since the Environmental Protection Agency ran an awareness campaign in the county last November. EPA results to date show that 33 homes – in areas including Arklow, Aughrim, Avoca, Baltinglass, Blessington and Rathdrum – had radon levels above the acceptable level. One home in Avoca had 30 times the acceptable level of the cancer causing gas. The radiation dose to the occupants of this home is equivalent to receiving about 20 chest X-rays per day.
Radon is a radioactive gas linked to up to 250 lung cancer cases each year in Ireland and is the second most common cause of lung cancer after smoking. County Wicklow has one of the highest incidences of homes with high radon levels in the country.
Ms Stephanie Long, Senior Scientist at the EPA said:
“The families that have tested their homes have done the right thing to address the radon problem in Wicklow. However, with much of the county categorised as high risk, many householders remain unaware that they may be unnecessarily living with higher levels of this radioactive gas which is linked to lung cancer.
“The good news is that testing for radon is really simple – one radon detector is placed in a bedroom and a second in the living room. The detectors are small and are sent and returned by post. In the event of a high reading, reducing radon levels is also straightforward. Remediation work is usually completed within one day where sumps are installed from outside the home so there is no need to dig up internal floors”.
A set of radon detectors costs about €50 and is available from the EPA and other registered testing services. The cost of reducing radon in your home can vary, but the average cost of installing the most effective solution is about €925. The EPA provides a list of registered remediators. Detailed information on radon, its risks, how to get your home or workplace tested and lists of registered testing and remediating services is available on http://www.epa.ie/radon/ or Freefone 1800 300 600.
Further information: Emily Williamson/Annette Cahalane, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or firstname.lastname@example.org