Deadly gas killing 250 people a year with lung cancer; RTE SHOW REVEALS LETHAL DANGER IN IRISH HOMES; Radon seeps naturally from rocks.
Byline: SYLVIA POWNALL
EXPOSURE to a deadly gas dubbed the "silent killer" is second only to smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer in Ireland, it has emerged.
Odourless radon gas, which occurs naturally, is linked to 250 cases of the illness each year and experts are warning householders may be at risk.
Environmental Protection Agency radon expert Dr David Fenton said: "This is a radioactive gas that has no colour, taste or smell so your senses are blind to it.
"It's emitted naturally from rocks and as it's coming out it can seep into people's houses and build up to high levels.
"Radon gas in homes is linked to 250 lung cancer cases each year. It is something people need to be concerned about."
The environmental watchdog's top scientist features in an RTE One documentary to mark science week entitled 10 Things to Know About The Earth's Crust.
Dr Fenton recalls the case of a tragic Kerry couple who both died of lung cancer after years of unwittingly living in a carcinogenic home which had deadly levels of the gas.
The one was Kerry 49,000 He added: "The highest one we found was in a house in North Kerry with 49,000 units of radon. Bearing in mind the of radon safe level is below 200, this house had very, very high levels.
"It's a tragic story because the householders unfortunately died of lung cancer. One of the doctors treating them found it was so unusual for two people, non-smoking, living in the same house to have lung cancer that he said get the radon levels checked.
"We found then this huge level of radon gas in the house." The Castleisland couple died within a few years of one McCrea another and a survey showed one of the highest values recorded in Europe.
Christine Keaney had the test done on her Co Galway house two years ago while she was having some home improvements.
She revealed: "It was about eight times the level advised, that would be equal to eight chest X-rays per day, every day. It was frightening, I had no idea." A sump was installed and radon levels have dropped from 1,600 to 200.
Dr Mark Foley of NUI Galway says modern houses "act like a hoover and sucks the radon up from the ground".
To check your area see www.epa.ie/radiation.
10 Things To Know About airs on on Monday at 8.30pm.
The highest one found was in Kerry with 49,000 units of radon DR DAVID FENTON on radon gas readings Radon test results from Irish homes 49k Units found in Kerry 1,600 units at home in Galway 8 200times the safe level at Galway pad Safe level of the gas
HOSTS Kathriona Devereux, Jonathan McCrea and Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain
SHOCKED Christine Keaney
UNSAFE LEVELS Dr David Fenton with presenter Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain