Galway home records gas at 19 times acceptable level


Radon levels equivalent to 13 chest X-rays per day were identified in a home in Galway city, the highest level of radon gas ever discovered in a home in the county, according to the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII).

Radon levels at 19 times the acceptable level of 200 Bq/m3 were discovered in the home which was one of five dwellings in Co Galway. One home in Kerry also recorded levels of radon – a cancer-causing odourless, tasteless and colourless gas – at over 10 times this level.

A total of 341 homes were identified as having excessive radon gas levels. The majority, or 293 dwellings, had levels up to four times the acceptable level.

A further 42 homes had levels between four and 10 times the acceptable level, 31 of which were located in Galway; three in Tipperary; two each in Clare, Cork and Wexford; one in Kerry and one in Sligo.

Stephanie Long, senior scientist with the RPII, reiterated that Ireland has a significant radon problem, with some of the highest levels found in Europe:

“Our research indicates that there are more than 91,000 homes with high levels of radon and only about 7,500 have been found to date.”

Radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer after smoking, and is directly linked to up to 200 lung cancer deaths in Ireland each year.

“Exposure to high radon levels causes lung cancer and many families are unknowingly living with a high risk to their health. People need to take the radon test and if high levels are found the problem should be fixed,” she said.

The RPII encourages people to test their homes for radon, which can be done by placing one radon detector in a bedroom and a second in a living room for a three-month period. The cost of a measurement stands at about €50. An interactive map is available on the RPII’s website rpii.iewhere people can do a search to see if their home or workplace is located in an area with high radon levels.