Why Parents Need to Know About Radon in Homes

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Pictured at the Radon Forum in Dublin was Kiki Deegan Hughes (7). Pic: Marc O'Sullivan

As parents, we are continually taking precautions to ensure our children are protected from all kinds of obvious dangers and visible health hazards. So there is nothing more worrying than knowing there may be a silent, invisible, odourless health threat in your home. Radon gas is a serious health hazard that is naturally occurring in the environment. Here’s why parents need to know about Radon in homes and what you can do to protect yourself and your family:

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Why be concerned about Radon?

The World Health Organisation has classed Radon as a carcinogen in the same group as asbestos and tobacco smoke, this means that it is proven to cause cancer in humans.

In fact, we know it is linked to up to 250 cases of lung cancer every year in Ireland.

We all have Radon in our homes, however there are no tell-tale signs that tell us whether the Radon in homes is below the acceptable level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre.

Worryingly, it is silent, invisible and odourless.

Good news though, there is a simple way to test your home to see if you are above this level and it is easy to reduce levels.

How to test your home for Radon gas

A number of companies, including the EPA, provide a radon testing service. The Environmental Protection Agency and a number of private services can test for Radon in homes:

  • The test is a small light plastic object the size of a computer mouse which you simply place in your home for three months. The testing device must remain in the same place for the three months.
  • Once the three months has been completed the test is sent off in a prepaid envelope to a laboratory where it is analysed and a report is sent back to the homeowner.
  • The report will tell you all you need to know about the levels of Radon in your home. If the levels are high, they recommend you get onto the EPA straight away and they will be able to advise you on the next steps from there.

Essentially Radon gas comes up through the Earth’s surface and can get into the home through cracks and crevices in walls or exposed pipes leading into the home, these need to be sealed over to prevent the gas getting into enclosed spaces.

Each case is treated on an individual basis depending on the amount of remediation work required.

For more information and resources you can log onto www.radon.ie.

Over to you now! Have you had experience of doing the Radon testing? Tell us about it in the comments below.