Field investigation of the surface-deposited radon progeny as a possible predictor of the airborne radon progeny dose rate

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Health and Medical Physics | Physics


The quantitative relationships between radon gas concentration, the surface-deposited activities of various radon progeny, the airborne radon progeny dose rate, and various residential environmental factors were investigated through actual field measurements in 38 selected Iowa houses occupied by either smokers or nonsmokers. Airborne dose rate was calculated from unattached and attached potential alpha energy concentrations (PAECs) using two dosimetric models with different activity-size weighting factors. These models are labeled Pdose and Jdose, respectively. Surface-deposited 218Po and 214Po were found significantly correlated to radon, unattached PAEC, and both airborne dose rates (p < 0.0001) in nonsmoking environments. However, deposited 218Po was not significantly correlated to the above parameters in smoking environments. In multiple linear regression analysis, natural logarithm transformation was performed for airborne dose rate as the dependent variable, as well as for radon and deposited 218Po and 214Po as predictors. An interaction effect was found between deposited 214Po and an obstacle in front of the Retrospective Reconstruction Detector (RRD) in predicting dose rate (p = 0.049 and 0.058 for Pdose and Jdose, respectively) for nonsmoking environments. After adjusting for radon and deposited radon progeny effects, the presence of either cooking, usage of a fireplace, or usage of a ceiling fan significantly, or marginally significantly, reduced the Pdose to 0.65 (90% CI 0.42–0.996), 0.54 (90% CI 0.28–1.02), and 0.66 (90% CI 0.45–0.96), respectively. For Jdose, only the usage of a ceiling fan significantly reduced the dose rate to 0.57 (90% CI 0.39–0.85). In smoking environments, deposited 218Po was a significant negative predictor for Pdose (RR 0.68, 90% CI 0.55–0.84) after adjusting for long-term 222Rn and environmental factors. A significant decrease of 0.72 (90% CI 0.64–0.83) in the mean Pdose was noted, after adjusting for the radon and radon progeny effects and other environmental factors, for every 10 additional cigarettes smoked in the room. A significant increase of 1.71 in the mean Pdose was found for large room size relative to small room size (90% CI 1.08–2.79) after adjusting for the radon and radon progeny effects as well as other environmental factors. Fireplace usage was found to significantly increase the mean Pdose to 1.71 (90% CI 1.20–2.45) after adjusting for other factors.