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WARNING: 'High levels' of cancer-causing gas found in Waterford homes

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WARNING: 'High levels' of cancer-causing gas found in Waterford homes

'Radon is invisible, colourless and odourless'

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling on all householders in Waterford to take action to protect themselves and their families.

One in five homes tested in County Waterford were found to have radon levels above the acceptable level. In these homes, remedial action should be carried out as a matter of urgency to reduce exposure to radon. Many parts of Waterford are deemed as high radon areas.

Radon is second only to smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer. It is estimated that about 300 lung cancer cases each year in Ireland are linked to radon exposure. Reducing high radon levels will, over time, save lives.

Radon is easy to test for and easy to fix, so learning more about what it is, and how you can protect yourself is critical. The World Health Organisation has categorised radon as a Group 1 carcinogen, in the same group as asbestos and tobacco smoke.

“Radon is invisible, colourless and odourless," says EPA scientist Alison Dowdall. 

"It is present in all Irish homes and it is estimated that up to 500,000 people are living in homes with radon levels above the acceptable level of 200 Bq/m3. Radon is only a problem if it is ignored. If there is a high radon level in your home, it is exposing you and your family to an unnecessary radiation dose."

She says reducing radon levels is simple, inexpensive and will immediately reduce the risk of developing lung cancer. For moderate levels of radon, improving indoor ventilation may reduce the level by up to half, the cost of which is low. For higher levels, a fan assisted sump can be installed which can reduce radon levels by over 90 percent. The sump can be installed in a day by a contractor with little disruption to the home.  If you know you have high radon levels in your home and haven’t already done so, we would urge everyone in Waterford to protect your family’s health by reducing radon as soon as possible." 

Take the first step today and have your home tested for radon.  Give yourself and your family the peace of mind that your home is safe.  If your results are high, it is easy to reduce the levels in your home.  For more information and to find a list of registered radon testing and remediation services, visit www.radon.ie.