Irish residents radon exposure 'equivalent to ten chest x-rays per day'

Residents in parts of County Clare could be being blasted with the radiation equivalent of ten x-rays a day, according to a leading teachta dála (TD).

Clare TD, Tony Killeen, who was formerly minister responsible for the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland, revealed the finding as he lent support to a position paper highlighting how to tackle the issue.

Mr Killen said the position paper is 'significant' in light of recent figures from the showing that 342, or 11%, of the 3033 Clare homes tested by the Irish Government had radon levels above the reference level of 200 Bq/m3.

Speaking last week he said this meant people in these 342 homes may be receiving radiation doses equivalent to several chest X-rays per day.

The highest level measured in a County Clare home in Clare is 2980 Bq/m3, almost 15 times above the reference level - equal to ten chest x-rays every day.

Mr Killen said: "Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that originates from the decay of uranium in rocks and soils.

"It has no smell, colour or taste and can only be detected using special detectors.

"Outdoors radon quickly dilutes to harmless concentrations, but when it enters an enclosed space, such as a house or other building, it can accumulate to unacceptably high concentrations.

"This gives rise to a radiation dose, which may cause lung cancer."

Luke Walsh


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