Spatial and Temporal Indoor Radon Variations

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Health and Medical Physics | Physics


This paper examines the ability of standard radon measurement protocols to predict long-term radon concentrations in houses located in the upper Midwest. It was observed that: (1) significant radon variations can occur on a spatial scale as small as a single floor; (2) radon measurements that integrate for periods < 3 mo are reliable only to within a factor of 2 or more; and (3) contemporary, short-term measurements within existing structures may not accurately reflect past radon concentrations. Two-hundred forty-three occupied houses located in 40 towns were monitored for at least 1 y using alpha-track detectors. If lifetime radon exposure estimates need to be determined accurately, then long-term, integrating radon detectors should be placed in several rooms of each house. In radon atmospheres that may not be stable for long periods of time, it is suggested that multiple, yearlong measurements or surface alpha activity measurements in combination with year-long alpha-track measurements are needed for an accurate lifetime radon assessment.