Nothern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) publishes new Radon map for NI.

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Nothern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) publishes new Radon map for NI.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) today published a new Radon in Dwellings map as part of the Radon in Dwellings in Northern Ireland: 2009 Review and Atlas Report.

Robert Larmour, NIEA Principal Pollution Inspector, explained: “Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas formed as a result of the radioactive decay of uranium, which is present in all rocks and soils. Radon rises from the soil into the air where it is diluted.

“Where radon enters buildings, the levels can build up and, at high concentrations, leads to an increased risk of lung cancer. In Northern Ireland up to 30 lung cancer deaths a year may be attributed to radon. I would encourage those householders with radon levels above the Action Level to implement measures to reduce the risk of lung cancer.”

This report updates previous reports and presents the first radon probability map at a resolution of 1square kilometre of the Irish Grid. It highlights 1,200 homes in Northern Ireland have been identified above the Government Action Level for radon.

The report confirms that for the majority of the population in Northern Ireland who live in the Greater Belfast area, radon levels in homes are generally low and are not a cause for concern.

However radon levels are raised in parts of the districts of Newry and Mourne, Down and, to a lesser extent Banbridge in the south-east; an area in the west centered in Strabane District; areas of the far south-west, south of Lower Lough Erne; a small area east of Upper Lough Erne and several areas in the central districts of Cookstown, Dungannon and Omagh.

In contrast, the probability of high radon concentrations is low in most of the north and north-east of Northern Ireland that lies on a basalt shield. The exception is a moderate risk area between Ballycastle and Ballintoy on the north coast.

For further information on the radon reduction measures contact the Health Protection Agency on 012 3582 2622 (office hours only) or by e-mail radon@hpa.org.uk. The full report can be downloaded from the  NIEA website

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