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Dundalk home had more than four times the acceptable level of radon gas


A home in Dundalk had more than four times the acceptable level of radon gas levels, according to a new report form the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland.

It was one of 17 homes in the county in the past 18 months to have been found with radon gas levels above the accepted levels.

The Dundalk case was the highest level of radon ever found in a Co Louth home, with the occupants receiving a radiation dose equivalent to more than 1,000 chest X-rays a year.

Radon is linked to more than 200 lung cancer deaths each year in Ireland and is the second biggest cause of the illness.

In its latest report the RPII found that 430 homes across the country had been identified as having high levels of radon.

In Louth, 294 tests for radon gas were completed in the past year and a half – the majority following an awareness campaign in April – and of these 17 were found to be above the acceptable level.

Commenting on the findings, David Fenton, Senior Scientist at the RPII said: “We know that Louth has a particular problem with radon and yet only a fraction of homeowners have tested. Our research shows that, of the homes already tested, there is a large percentage with high radon levels.”

In addition to the home with the highest level, ten homes in Dundalk, two in Carlingford, two in Drogheda and one each in Ardee and Clogherhead were found with radon levels above and up to four times the acceptable level.

“Tens of thousands of homeowners in Louth have yet to test for radon and among them are many thousands that are unknowingly being exposed to this cancer causing gas.  It is really important for people to test their home for radon as this is the only way of protecting your family”, said Mr Fenton.

Measuring radon and, in the event of a high reading, fixing the problem are both easy to do.  To test for radon, one radon detector is placed in a bedroom and a second in a living room for a three-month period.  The detectors are sent and returned by post for analysis.  The RPII and a number of private companies provide a radon measurement service.  The cost of a measurement is around €50.

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