Drive to raise awareness of radon in Louth

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) is to host a week-long awareness drive in Louth to highlight the dangers of exposure to radon gas. The information campaign will begin on Monday the 15th of April and will urge people to test their homes for the presence of the cancer-causing gas, radon.

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) is to host a week-long awareness drive in Louth to highlight the dangers of exposure to radon gas. The information campaign will begin on Monday the 15th of April and will urge people to test their homes for the presence of the cancer-causing gas, radon.

One in eight homes tested in Louth have been found to have high levels of the radioactive gas, which is linked to over 200 deaths each year in Ireland. Many parts of Louth are deemed High Radon Areas in which more than 10 per cent of homes are predicted to have high levels of radon. In particular, homes with high levels have consistently been found in Dundalk, Knockbridge, Ardee, Clogherhead, Termonfeckin and throughout the Cooley peninsula.

As part of the awareness drive, the RPII will host three public meetings. Two will be held on Thursday 18th April, the first will be at 1pm in the Barbican, St. Peter’s Parish Centre, William Street, Drogheda and the second meeting will be at 6pm in An Táin Theatre, Crowe Street, Dundalk. The third meeting will be on Friday 19th April at 11 am in the Carlingford Heritage Centre, Carlingford. The events are free and everyone is welcome to attend to find out more information on radon.

Ms Stephanie Long, Senior Scientist at the RPII, said: “Radon is a serious issue, particularly in Louth. But it’s easy to test for it and if your home has high levels it’s relatively inexpensive to fix it. Because radon is invisible, odourless and tasteless, people cannot tell if they have high levels of the radioactive gas in their home without testing for it. Homeowners in Louth need to take this matter very seriously and take the radon test to ensure that they and their families are not at risk”.

Testing for radon and in the event of a high reading, reducing the levels present 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 testing service. The cost of a test is around €50.

If a moderate radon level is found, 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%. The sump can be installed in a day by a contractor with little disruption to the home. The average cost of this work is €1,100 with annual running costs of approximately €90.

An interactive map is available on the RPII’s website (www.rpii.ie) so that anyone can search for their address or nearest town to see whether their home or workplace is in a High Radon Area. They can find out what they need to know about radon – what it is, why it is a problem and how they can have a test carried out. Information can also be obtained by phoning Freefone 1800 300 600.