A large number of homes in Co Clare have been found with dangerously high levels of radon — with fears many more householders are unaware of the presence of the cancer-causing gas beneath their properties.
The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that 14 houses in the county were discovered with radon levels above the recommended safety limits following a major public awareness campaign last November.
The affected residences were in Ennis, Clarecastle, Corofin, Ennistymon, Tulla, and Quin.
Among the houses tested in Co Clare last year, one household in Ennis had more than nine times the acceptable level.
“For the occupants of this home, the radiation dose they are exposed to is equivalent to receiving about six chest X-rays every day,” said Alison Dowdall, a scientist with the EPA’s office of radiological protection.
According to that office, more than 20% of homes in many of these areas have radon levels in excess of the safety level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre.
Radon, a naturally occurring gas, is the second most common cause of lung cancer in Ireland after smoking and is linked to some 250 cases of the disease each year.
Radon tests are available from the EPA and other suppliers for around €50. The cost of reducing high levels of radon in a property averages around €925.
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