2021 Symposium Abstracts
An Underground Testbed for Continuous and Real-Time Measurement of Radon
Ashwin Ashok*(Asst. Prof.), Nadine Kabengi, Dajun Dai, Xiaochun He, Dan Deocampo
Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA, USA
This talk presents an overview of the proposed research plan (funded by USDA NIFA) to design a real-time wireless under-the-soil radon measurement sensor test-bed that will constitute a 200 node sensor network to be deployed centered around the north-eastern suburbs, in the Dekalb county, of Atlanta in Georgia, USA–a metro area of 6 million residents with known high potential for radon exposure. This radon measurement testbed will measure and study soil radon penetration, distribution and movement in-situ at high temporal and spatial resolutions by placing sensors at 2-to-6 feet depth. The intensive parameter measurements will constitute a bi-annual in-lab soil samples characterization and calibration. The testbed will be equipped with soil-to-air wireless communication capability to communicate the measurements from all sensing agents on-site to a computing server that is stationed onsite. The project will host a web server for real-time visualization of the testbed.
ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL: A DISCUSSION OF UNIQUE MITIGATION APPROACHES FOR NON-RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS ON MILITARY INSTALLATIONS
Rachel Carter, MS
Assisted Management Solutions, Inc.
Leonardtown, Maryland, USA
Non-residential buildings, such as those found on military installations, may require different mitigation approaches similar to those commonly used for residential buildings. Large, non-residential buildings typically have air handling systems that are more robust or complex than those in residential-style buildings. Buildings on military installations can also range in function from administrative or office buildings, to child care centers, hotels, barracks, and even highly secure testing facilities. These unique occupational spaces are not condusive to one specific radon mitigation solution. Additionally, funding is a primary factor determining the mitigation timeline for these installations. For these reasons, unique mitigation approaches, including interim strategies, are discussed that can be applied quickly with relatively low cost in order to ensure occupant health and safety.
INFLUENCE OF DECREASING BAROMETRIC PRESSURE FREQUENCIES ON HETEROGENEOUS UNDERGROUND RADON SOURCES
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Buffalo, NY, USA
Radon as a fluid is subject to induced flow within a porous medium from vertical pressure gradients. The extent of these gradients is driven by the pneumatic diffusivity of the medium and the perceived frequency or duration of pressure differentials; however, these may be further influenced by variability in local geology. Perceived cycles across different frequencies correspond to induced flow from characteristic depths. Low frequency cycles or events extending days to weeks may promote enhancement of eventual surface emissions from deep underground radon sources if coupled with compatible source configurations; particularly frequencies less than 1E-05 hertz may breach finite low permeability covers and drive predictable intra-seasonal radon cycles that may not be possible for higher frequency signals. Demonstrations of these cycles is explored for consideration in both bounding surface emissions and measuring the resulting air concentrations. Real-world examples and exploratory scenarios modeled in the RnMod3D gas transport code are presented.
RURAL RESIDENTS AS CITIZEN SCIENTISTS TO PROMOTE RADON DETECTION, MITIGATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH LITERACY
*1,2Ellen J. Hahn (PhD, RN, FAAN), 1Stacy Stanifer, 1Kathy Rademacher, 1Nicholas Conley, 2Anna Hoover, 1,2Mary Kay Rayens
1University of Kentucky College of Nursing, BREATHE, Lexington, KY, USA
2University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Lexington, KY, USA
We recruited and trained 60 adult participants, 15 from each of 4 rural Kentucky counties, as citizen scientists to test their homes for radon and document daily home radon levels and a long-term two-week average using the Airthings® Corentium detector. Participants received an individualized report with daily and 2-week average radon values and recommended next steps. Those with high radon were invited to participate in a personalized telephone conversation. All were invited to a focus group to assess feasibility and ease of testing. The average radon level for the 60 homes was 7.04 pCi/L (SD=10.07); 23% reported a family history of lung cancer. Nearly all 60 citizen scientists entered daily values and were highly engaged in the project and reported a significant increase in environmental health literacy and confidence to contact a radon mitigation professional over time. The innovative citizen science approach shows promise in advancing radon testing and mitigation.
This project is supported by Grant R01 ES030380. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS.
The Benefits of a Centralized, Public, and Geo-located Radon Measurement Database
Healthy Home Environmental Services LLC
Idaho Falls, ID, USA
Even a cursory glance at the EPA Radon Zone Map reveals that there is a direct relationship between geographic location and the probability of elevated radon levels. Such a map could be drawn with greater precision (to the neighborhood level) with current privately and publicly available data.
Finding statistical anomalies in these data would have the following benefits: First, radon measurement professionals would learn whether they fell into statistical normalcy for the areas they have tested. Thus, they would make alterations to their own testing procedures or call out problems in testing procedures in the broader community. Second, residents in particularly high-risk areas would be informed and would consequently act. Third, geologists would draw subterranean conclusions. Finally, other variables factored into the data would be introduced into machine learning algorithms to reveal unexpected correlations in geography and radon levels.
The data must be centralized for these benefits.
RADON IN MUNICIPAL WASTE LANDFILL METHANE GAS
LaMastra, CHP, Anthony
A.B.E. Radiation Measurements Laboratory
Lenhartsville, PA, USA
With the rise of fracking for oil and natural gas, it has become well documented that radon-222 can be found in varying concentrations in natural gas. However, radon-222 has also been found in the methane collected from the anaerobic decomposition of municipal solid waste deposited in sanitary landfills. This paper will discuss the possible routes of entry of the radon-222, the gas collection system and processing, the initial concentrations, and the resulting concentrations of radon-222 in the methane being sold as natural gas from one sanitary landfill.
A CASE STUDY OF HVAC SYSTEM INFLUENCE ON RADON CONCENTRATIONS WITHIN A BUILDING
Amherst, Ohio, USA
There is no doubt that the operation of an HVAC system can have a significant influence on radon entry and transport within a building. This is true in individual single-family homes, multifamily properties, schools and large buildings. This is a case study of a commercial facility in which the operation of the HVAC system had been compromised by the employees and maintenance staff causing significant disruption of the system. Interestingly, elevated radon concentrations were eliminated by restoring the compromised HVAC system to its original design. This case study is intended to assist radon measurement and mitigation professionals in their understanding of the importance of paying attention to the HVAC system when considering testing procedures and mitigation system design.
DETERMINATION OF TEMPORAL VARIATION IN INDOOR RADON CONCENTRATION DATA FROM THE CDC TRACKING NETWORK
Sidoine Kamgang*, MS, MIS, and Michele Monti
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Environmental Health
Environmental Public Health Tracking Program
Atlanta, GA, USA
In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (Tracking Program) began a collaboration with national radon testing laboratories, facilitated by the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST). Six private national radon testing laboratories provided radon in air testing data to CDC for display on the Tracking Network. This study looks at the temporal variation in radon test results for 46 states and the District of Columbia from years 2005 to 2017. The 2.4 million records in the dataset were grouped by month, and the monthly mean indoor radon concentrations were estimated. Results show that higher levels of radon are found in buildings tested in January, February, October, and November and lower levels found in July, August, and June. Knowing the temporal variation in radon levels allows for identification of the best time to test for radon to avoid underestimating possible exposure.
RADON MEASUREMENTS IN SWEDISH MULTI-FAMILY HOUSES
Tryggve Rönnqvist, Technical Manager
Radonova Laboratories AB
Radonova has analyzed radon measurements in more than 400’000 apartments in Swedish multi-family houses. In houses with 5 or more measured apartments, about 30% of the multi-family houses had some value above the Swedish reference level of 200 Bq/m3 (5.4 pCi/l). The data are discussed with respect to parameters such as floor level, U-concentration in soil, building year, ventilation and basement type. Comparisons with measurements in single-family houses and workplaces will be made. The Swedish measurement protocol for multi-family houses is also presented.
Long-Term Evaluation of a Reusable Radon-in-Water Proficiency Test
Uttam Saha1, David Parks1, Pamela Turner2, Derek Cooper2, Michael Kitto3
1Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA.
2Department of Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer Economics, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA.
3Laboratory of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY.
Athens, GA, USA
Successful preparation of a reusable radium-free radon-in-water standard using a 226Ra-loaded filter paper (the source) sandwiched between polyethylene sheeting has been reported. We measured radon in water from two vials, containing such a source, periodically during 2016-2021 allowing a 45±5-day ingrowth interval. In each measurement, duplicate cocktails were prepared in four different ways, and the radon measured using two different liquid scintillation (LS) assays. The reusable sources maintained their characteristics satisfactorily for the 5-year period of study. We consistently observed significant differences in measured radon concentration between the two different LS assays and also between the two different scintillation fluids, but not between the two pipetting and dispensing methods. Preparation of the cocktails with Opti-fluor and measurement by 130-700 keV assay was the only method that consistently produced results within the acceptance window (known±25%), suggesting an optimal method of preparing and measuring radon in water could yield more accurate results.
Canadian Radon Initiatives and Comparison of Consumer-Grade Electronic Radon Monitors
Pam Warkentin, Executive Director C-NRPP
Winnipeg, MB CANADA
In Canada, we have estimated that 16% of our lung cancers are attributed to radon exposure. Our geology, climate conditions as well as our housing characteristics result in potential for our population to be exposed to high levels of radon. As radon awareness has grown, homeowners have taken an interest in digital radon monitors. C-NRPP has conducted research of consumer-grade electronic radon monitors. The monitors are appealing to homeowners due to the ease of use and the ability to keep track of radon levels during the process of conducting a radon test. In this study, C-NRPP compared the performance of the different consumer-grade electronic radon monitors and determine which factors should be considered when using these monitors to inform mitigation decisions.
CONTEXTUALIZING RADON ACTIVITY IN NORTHEASTERN IOWA CAVES BY MEASURING URANIUM AND THORIUM AT THE RADON SAMPLING SITES
Lawrence E. Welch*, Brian E. Paul, Anna Takashima, Garrett D. Rau, Christopher L. Beck, Edward C. Klausner, Elizabeth R. Miller, Mark D. Jones, and Michael J. Lace
Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, USA
A selection of caves in northeastern Iowa from similar geological strata were chosen as sampling sites for radon. At the radon measurement locations, physical samples were collected from the caves, and elemental analyses for uranium and thorium were performed. Collected materials included pieces of bedrock, soil, water and speleothems, all found in direct proximity to the radon sampling locations. An analysis of the amalgamated results was then made to seek out linkages between metal concentrations, radon activity, and cave structure.