Blissfully unaware of the huge doses of lethal radon engulfing their homes, many Waterford householders are unknowingly living with a potential death sentence on a daily basis.
As the second greatest cause of lung cancer after smoking, the presence of high radon levels in homes can have debilitating consequences for a person’s health.
Ireland has one of the highest concentrations of radon in Europe, with certain areas in Mid and East Waterford long since identified as possessing particularly high levels of the gas.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, originating from the decay of uranium in rocks and soils, and has no smell, taste or colour.
Extremely high concentrations can accumulate in enclosed spaces, producing radiation doses capable of causing lung cancer.
As part of a nationwide survey conducted by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII), many homes in Waterford have been identified as having radon levels above the designated safe level.
Two Waterford homes were identified as having between 800 and 2000 Becquerel’s (the unit of radioactivity) per cubic metre (Bq/m3), substantially above the 200 Bq/m3 mark, the level at which it’s recommend action is taken.
The highest recorded level in Waterford was in Kilmacthomas, with a reading of 1500 Bq/m3.
Twenty three other homes across both city and county had readings between 200 and 800 Bq/m3.
The data was compiled from radon measurements taken between January 1st and August 30th this year.
“Waterford is one of the high-risk areas,” commented Senator Paudie Coffey. “In some areas of Waterford City and Tramore, up to 20 per cent of homes have potentially dangerous radon levels. There’s another high-risk zone from Kilmacthomas to Portlaw.”
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