TESTS for a potentially lethal gas that can cause cancer are to be carried out on almost 900 homes in Co. Cork.
County manager Martin Riordan confirmed yesterday that the county council, in conjunction with the Radiological Protection Institute, intends to check local authority houses in the north Cork region for radon gas.
The pilot scheme will focus specifically on north Cork as parts of the region were identified by the institute as having potentially high levels of the gas.
The serious threat posed by radon gas came to light recently when it emerged that staff working in The Corkman newspaper office in Mallow had been exposed to very high levels of radiation from the gas.
Mr Riordan said a programme for the works was currently being arranged by county council staff and he was confident testing would begin soon.
The council is to purchase €30,000 of testing equipment.
The local authority owns a total of 1,924 houses in the region, but is initially going to test 893 homes in areas which the institute has deemed to be at greater risk.
The county manager said if any houses were found to have dangerous levels of the gas, steps would be immediately taken to rectify the problem.
“Have no doubt that any houses that need to be protected will be,” Mr Riordan told councillors at a meeting in County Hall. Tests will continue over a six-month period.
Once testing has been completed in north Cork, it is likely that the scheme will be extended to other parts of the county identified by the institute as having potential problems.