Environment

Cooley Peninsula designated a High Radon Area by EPA

Radon a bigger killer than carbon monoxide

Donard McCabe

Reporter:

Donard McCabe

Cooley peninsula designated a High Radon Area by EPA

Cooley peninsula designated a High Radon Area by EPA

The Cooley peninsula and parts of north Louth are all designated by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) as High Radon Areas. 

European Radon Day, an initiative led by the European Radon Association (ERA) occurred yesterday November 7, and took place to help create awareness of the dangers of the invisible gas that is a bigger killer than carbon monoxide.

Radon is a radioactive gas which is naturally produced in the ground from the uranium present in small quantities in all rocks and soils. You cannot smell, see or taste radon and it can only be measured with special detectors.

When inhaled, these particles are deposited in the airways and on lung tissue, giving a radiation dose that can cause lung cancer. Radon is in the same group of carcinogens as asbestos and tobacco smoke.

A High Radon Area, according to the EPA website, is any area where it is predicted that 10 per cent or more of homes will exceed the Reference Level of 200 bequerel per cubic metre (Bq/m3).  Any area that is coloured light or dark brown on the map is a High Radon Area.

As can be seen in the above image taken from the EPA website, all of the Cooley Peninsula would fall under the High Radon Area category as the whole area is predicted to have 10% or more homes that will exceed the reference levels cited by the EPA.

It can also be seen that Louth Village and surrounding areas also fall into the High Radon Area category.

The risk of contracting lung cancer from exposure to radon depends on the level of radon an individual has been exposed to and duration of exposure.

The EPA says two groups of people are more at risk and should take action to reduce their exposure:

  • Those living in a home with high radon levels.
  • Those who smoke or who used to smoke.‌

Smokers run a much higher risk of developing radon-related lung cancer than those who never smoked, says the EPA, because when the two carcinogens radon and tobacco smoke are combined, the risk is magnified. 

It is possible to get the levels of radon in your home measured. 

To find out more about radon, testing your home and how to deal with the issue, please visit the EPA website.