A HSE unit, which opened three months ago at a cost of 13 million euro, has been found to have radon levels greater than the amount recommended for residential facilities.
Parts of the 40 bed Deer Lodge Mental Health Unit in Killarney had radon gas levels greater than the recommended 200 becquerels per cubic metre.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and according to the EPA, up to 250 cases of lung cancer annually can be linked to it.
The Environmental Protection Agency says radon gas represents the greatest health risk from radiation in this country.
You can’t smell, see or taste it and it can only be measured with special detectors.
The Health Service Executive’s confirmed that a number of areas within Deer Lodge Mental Health Unit in Killarney have radon levels higher than that recommended for residential facilities.
The HSE says a radon barrier had been installed within the building and a three month radon monitoring study had taken place prior to opening.
It says the fitting of radon extract fans in nine external locations around the building will take place and these works will happen within the next few weeks, if not sooner.
The HSE says it’s been assured there’s no immediate danger to either staff or residents.
However, Cormac Williams of the Psychiatric Nurses’ Association has queried why existing anti-radon measures had failed.
He says the HSE needs to state the exact amount of radon levels detected in parts of the building that exceeded the recommended safety level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre.