EPA says 170,000 homes at risk of cancer-causing radon gas

EPA says 170,000 homes at risk of cancer-causing radon gas

The gas is linked to increased risk of lung cancer. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

Around 170,000 homes across the country are now thought to be at risk from a radioactive gas linked with an increase in lung cancer, with Munster and Connaught particularly vulnerable. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that another 45,000 homes had been added to inventory for radon exposure since the last estimate 20 years ago. 

Radon, a gas that originates from the decay of uranium in rocks and soils is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. Every year in Ireland 350 new lung cancer cases are linked to exposure to radon, which has no taste, smell, or colour, the EPA said.

Work done by the EPA along with Trinity College Dublin, the Geological Survey of Ireland, and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) found that Munster and Connaught had an increased risk for radon.

EPA director Micheál Lehane called radon a “serious public health hazard” and urged homeowners and businesses to test for it, particularly in high-risk areas.

High-risk areas are those where the EPA predicts that more than 10% of buildings will have radon concentrations above the national reference level.

Testing for radon is simple, the EPA said, as it launched new radon maps showing where the problem may lie.

Mr Lehane said: “The new maps make it easy for everyone to find out the radon risk in their local area using the Eircode search on the EPA website. 

“We urge people to test for radon as this is the only way of protecting you and your family from this cancer-causing gas.”

Testing is cheap, and the fixes for radon exposure are straightforward, the EPA said.

The map will be available to view on the EPA website.

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