Limerick County Council tests houses for Radon

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

ALL of the 46 council houses tested to date for radon gas by Limerick County Council were within the permitted, safe levels, councillors were told this week.

ALL of the 46 council houses tested to date for radon gas by Limerick County Council were within the permitted, safe levels, councillors were told this week.

Thirty five of the 46 houses tested were within the Rathkeale electoral area and were located in what the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) map considers to be high-risk areas.

John Moloney, an executive engineer with the council who is in charge of the testing told the four Rathkeale area councillors that the council’s programme was beginning with the areas at highest risk and moving on from there. “Looking at predictions, we should have gotten about 5% above the safe limit but we didn’t. We are putting it down to good construction,” Mr Moloney said.

Not all the houses tested had a radon barrier, which is now obligatory in all new houses.

Had any houses exceeded the safe limit of 200 becquerels per cubic metre, Mr Moloney explained, the solution would be to dig into the foundations and instal a pipe and small extractor fan to ensure that any radon gas was expelled. “The RPAI advises that new and old houses be tested,” Mr Moloney continued.

The council is now moving on to test a further 112 houses of its housing stock, 40 of which are in the Rathkeale electoral area. This second phase also involved houses in the high risk area, Mr Moloney said.

Radon at high levels are linked to lung cancer councillors were told and tends to occur where limestone is close to the surface or in igneous rock.

Cllr John Sheahan urged people to consult the RPII website and urged those in private houses to carry out their own radon testing.

Cllr Kevin Sheahan called for the Government to fund a national radon survey of all houses.

Radon is a naturally occuring gas and in outdoor conditions, levels are normally 5-15 becquerels per cubic metre.

The average indoor level in Ireland is 89bg/m3.