Deadly Radon gas - The silent killer in Kilkenny homes

Parts of County Kilkenny are at high risk from Radon gas which is a cancer giving gas that comes up from the ground naturally

Deadly Radon gas - The silent killer in Kilkenny homes
Sean Keanesean.keane@kilkennypeople.ieSeanKeaneKPnews

Kilkenny is one of the counties in Ireland where radon gas is prevalent.

This gas causes cancer and is a silent killer. According to leading health and environmental experts in this country: “Every two days someone dies from a radon induced lung cancer in Ireland - since 2010 some 1,700 people have died from this preventable health problem. Radon is only a problem if it is ignored. You can protect your family by testing your home for radon and, where high levels are found, reducing those levels. Fixing radon problems in a home is relatively straightforward and inexpensive. ”There are a number of simple ways to find out if you, your family, your children and your home are at risk. There is an inter-active map on the EPA website.

Just type these words into the browser and it will bring you straight to it: http://www.epa.ie/radiation/radonmap/

Many people in Kilkenny are in high radon gas areas.

There are a number of 10 kilometre sq grids where there is a more than 20% of the homes in this 10km grid square to be above the Reference Level. This is a High Radon Area and you must take action.

What can you do?

What is Radon? Radon is a lung carcinogen and is linked to some 250 lung cancer cases each year in Ireland making it a serious public health hazard. Radon is a radioactive gas formed naturally 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 concentrations but when it enters an enclosed space, such as a house or other building, it can accumulate to unacceptably high concentrations.

The National Radon Control Strategy

To address radon as a public health hazard, the Government published the 4-year National Radon Control Strategy (NRCS) in 2014. The aim of the strategy is to reduce the number of lung cancer cases in Ireland. The EPA carries out radon awareness campaigns within the framework of the National Radon Control Strategy and reaches householders through national, digital and local media. Last week’s public information campaign in Wicklow was carried out within the framework of the NRCS.

Testing a home

The cost of testing your home varies depending on which test supplier you choose, but is in the region of €50. Two small detectors are sent to your home, placed in the bedroom and living room, the rooms most occupied by the family, and after three months they are returned to the testing company to be analysed and the results are then given to the householder together with some advice on what to do next. The whole process is done by post and there is no need for anyone to visit your home.

Is every house affected?

Radon can be found in any home, every household’s radon levels are different, this is why the EPA is encouraging all households to take the radon test. If there is a high radon level in a house, it puts householders and their families at increased risk of lung cancer.

What can be done to reduce high radon concentrations in a home?

Radon problems in a home can be fixed easily, relatively inexpensively and usually without disruption to the household. A booklet entitled Understanding Radon Remediation – A Householder’s Guide will help you learn more about the solutions available and how best to deal with the problem, is available on www.radon.ie. In addition, the EPA holds a list of companies who are known to provide a radon remediation service and this is also available on the website.

Finally

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling on people in High Radon Areas to test their homes for radon. Since 2010 the EPA’s Office of Radiological Protection has carried out awareness campaigns in the 12 radon priority counties and undertaken testing for 4,700 householders. Of the homes tested, over 700 had raised radon levels and almost 80 had extremely high radon levels. Radon is second only to smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer. It is estimated that some 250 lung cancer cases each year in Ireland are linked to radon exposure.