Residents of a local authority house in Clare where a higher than acceptable level of cancer causing gas was recorded, refused to allow an extractor fan fitted by the council to be turned on, The Clare Champion can reveal.
More than one fifth of homes in certain areas of central and North Clare have above the acceptable level (200 Bq/m3) of radon, a naturally occurring gas that can cause cancer.
Clare County Council, with the assistance of RPII, carried out a survey to assess radon levels in all its housing stock between 2006 and 2007. This involved leaving radon detectors in the property for a minimum period of three months.
“The results were tabulated and exceedances noted. Of the 1,225 houses surveyed there were only 46 exceedances. There were 101 houses where we could not gain access or the radon detectors were removed or destroyed,” recalled Bernadette Kinsella, Director of Services, Housing with Clare County Council.
“Remedial works, which involved improving ventilation and/or installing radon extraction fans to the houses, were carried out on the 0.04% of the housing stock which exceeded the 200Bq/m3. These houses were subsequently retested with only one exceedance. On inspection of the property it was found that the radon extractor fan installed had been switched off and the occupants refused to allow the fan to remain on,” Ms Kinsella stated, adding, “They were advised of the risks involved.”
Radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer after smoking and is linked to 150 to 200 lung cancer deaths each year in Ireland.
Last week Minister for Defence and Clare TD Tony Killeen called on people across the county to test their homes after it was discovered that a home in Lisdoonvarna had more than 17 times the acceptable level of radon.
Clare County Council also confirmed that in recent years it has carried out tests of all its buildings where workers are employed and that results are within the reference level for workplaces of 400q/m3 averaged over any three-month period.