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Title: Contamination of individuals by radon daughters: a preliminary study

Abstract

Body radon daughter contamination reflects relative individual respiratory exposures to radon daughters; counts can be related both to household radon levels and to lung cancer risk factors such as sex and tobacco smoking. Radon daughters were counted by gamma spectroscopy from 180 adult residents of eastern Pennsylvania. A seven-position, 35-min scan was conducted in a mobile body counter, generally during afternoon or evening hours. Track-etch detectors for household radon were distributed, and were recovered from 80% of the subjects. Over 75% of the population had environmentally enhanced radon daughter contamination. House radon levels were strongly related, as anticipated, to radon daughter contamination in the 112 subjects for whom both sets of measurements were available (p less than .001); basement measurements were as strongly related to personal contamination as were living area measurements; bedroom measurements were slightly more strongly correlated. Both sex (p less than .02) and cigarette smoking (p less than .01) significantly modified the relationships, after nonlinear adjustment for travel times. Using a logarithmic model, a given house living-area radon level was associated in females with body contamination by radon daughters 2-3 times that in males. Nonsmokers had 2-4 times higher levels of contamination than smokers. Results are formore » the total of internal and external contamination, these being highly correlated in preliminary experiments. Time usage and activity patterns of the subjects are believed to be important in explaining these findings, and may become important variables in radon risk assessment.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab., IL (USA)
OSTI Identifier:
7125525
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Arch. Environ. Health; (United States); Journal Volume: 43:2
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; HOUSES; RADIATION MONITORING; LUNGS; NEOPLASMS; RADIOINDUCTION; RADON; RADIATION HAZARDS; RADIOECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; RISK ASSESSMENT; DAUGHTER PRODUCTS; ENVIRONMENTAL EXPOSURE; GAMMA SPECTROSCOPY; INDOOR AIR POLLUTION; MATHEMATICAL MODELS; PENNSYLVANIA; SEX DEPENDENCE; TOBACCO SMOKES; AEROSOLS; AIR POLLUTION; BODY; BUILDINGS; COLLOIDS; DISEASES; DISPERSIONS; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; ELEMENTS; FEDERAL REGION III; FLUIDS; GASES; HAZARDS; HEALTH HAZARDS; ISOTOPES; MONITORING; NONMETALS; NORTH AMERICA; ORGANS; POLLUTION; RARE GASES; RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS; RESIDUES; RESPIRATORY SYSTEM; SMOKES; SOLS; SPECTROSCOPY; USA; 560161* - Radionuclide Effects, Kinetics, & Toxicology- Man; 500300 - Environment, Atmospheric- Radioactive Materials Monitoring & Transport- (-1989)

Citation Formats

Stebbings, J.H., and Dignam, J.J.. Contamination of individuals by radon daughters: a preliminary study. United States: N. p., 1988. Web. doi:10.1080/00039896.1988.9935844.
Stebbings, J.H., & Dignam, J.J.. Contamination of individuals by radon daughters: a preliminary study. United States. doi:10.1080/00039896.1988.9935844.
Stebbings, J.H., and Dignam, J.J.. 1988. "Contamination of individuals by radon daughters: a preliminary study". United States. doi:10.1080/00039896.1988.9935844.
@article{osti_7125525,
title = {Contamination of individuals by radon daughters: a preliminary study},
author = {Stebbings, J.H. and Dignam, J.J.},
abstractNote = {Body radon daughter contamination reflects relative individual respiratory exposures to radon daughters; counts can be related both to household radon levels and to lung cancer risk factors such as sex and tobacco smoking. Radon daughters were counted by gamma spectroscopy from 180 adult residents of eastern Pennsylvania. A seven-position, 35-min scan was conducted in a mobile body counter, generally during afternoon or evening hours. Track-etch detectors for household radon were distributed, and were recovered from 80% of the subjects. Over 75% of the population had environmentally enhanced radon daughter contamination. House radon levels were strongly related, as anticipated, to radon daughter contamination in the 112 subjects for whom both sets of measurements were available (p less than .001); basement measurements were as strongly related to personal contamination as were living area measurements; bedroom measurements were slightly more strongly correlated. Both sex (p less than .02) and cigarette smoking (p less than .01) significantly modified the relationships, after nonlinear adjustment for travel times. Using a logarithmic model, a given house living-area radon level was associated in females with body contamination by radon daughters 2-3 times that in males. Nonsmokers had 2-4 times higher levels of contamination than smokers. Results are for the total of internal and external contamination, these being highly correlated in preliminary experiments. Time usage and activity patterns of the subjects are believed to be important in explaining these findings, and may become important variables in radon risk assessment.},
doi = {10.1080/00039896.1988.9935844},
journal = {Arch. Environ. Health; (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 43:2,
place = {United States},
year = 1988,
month = 3
}
  • Radon daughters were counted by gamma spectroscopy from 180 adult residents of eastern Pennsylvania during the winter of 1983-84. Body radon daughter contamination is an index of relative individual respiratory exposures to radon daughters. These can be related to household radon levels, and to personal risk factors such as sex and tobacco smoking. Over 75% of this Pennsylvania population appeared to have environmentally enhanced radon daughter contamination; 59% had counting rates greater than 2 s.d. above background. House radon levels were the major determinants of radon daughters contamination in the 112 subjects for which both sets of measurements were availablemore » (p<.001). Both sex (<.02) and cigarette smoking (p<.005) were found to significantly modify that relationship, after nonlinear adjustment for travel times. Using a logarithmic model, for a given radon level body contamination by radon daughters in females was 2-3.5x higher than in males. Nonsmokers had 2-4x higher levels of contamination than smokers. For female nonsmokers relative to male smokers (which in general corresponds to the population of major concern relative to the population from which risk estimates have been derived), the excesses multiply. These results are for total contamination, both internal and external.« less
  • Radon daughters were counted by gamma spectroscopy from 180 adult residents of eastern Pennsylvania during the winter of 1983-84. Body radon daughter contamination is an index of relative individual respiratory exposures to radon daughters. Body radon daughter counts can be related both to household radon levels, and to personal risk factors such as sex and tobacco smoking. A 35-minute, seven-position scan was carried out in a mobile body counter using a NaI crystal. Track-Etch detectors for household radon were distributed to 86% of the subjects; 80% were recovered. More than 75% of this Pennsylvania population appeared to have environmentally enhancedmore » radon daughter contamination; 59% had counting rates greater than 2 s.d. above background. House radon levels were the major determinants of radon daughter contamination in the 112 subjects for which both sets of measurements were available. Both sex and cigarette smoking (p < .01) significantly modified that relationship, after nonlinear adjustment for travel times. Using a logarithmic model, a given house radon level was associated in females with body contamination by radon daughters 2-3 times that in males. Nonsmokers had 2-4 times higher levels of contamination than smokers. For female nonsmokers relative to male smokers the excesses multiply. These results are for total contamination, both internal and external. Total contamination may be a better index of individual exposures in the breathing zone than a long-term room measurement. The time usage and activity patterns of the subjects must be considered in explaining these findings. 8 references, 6 tables.« less
  • DEAP-3600 is a 3600kg single-phase liquid-argon dark matter detector under construction at SNOLAB with a sensitivity of 10{sup −46}cm{sup 2} for a 100 GeV WIMP. The argon is held an an acrylic vessel coated with wavelength-shifting 1,1,4,4-tetraphenyl-1,3-butadiene (TPB). Acrylic was chosen because it is optically transparent at the shifted wavelength of 420 nm; an effective neutron shield; and physically strong. With perfect cleaning of the acrylic surface before data taking the irreducible background is that from bulk {sup 210}Pb activity that is near the surface. To achieve a background rate of 0.01 events in the 1000-kg fiducial volume per yearmore » of exposure, the allowed limit of Pb-210 in the bulk acrylic is 31 mBq/tonne (= 1.2 × 10{sup −20}g/g). We discuss how pure acrylic was procured and manufactured into a complete vessel paying particular attention to exposure to radon during all processes. In particular field work at the acrylic panel manufacturer, RPT Asia, and acrylic monomer supplier, Thai MMA Co. Ltd, in Thailand is described. The increased diffusion of radon during annealing the acrylic at 90C as well as techniques to mitigate against this are described.« less
  • Semi-quantitative Po-210 measurements were made on near surface soil samples near known uranium ore deposits and on closely related diamond drill cores. The physical distribution of uranium and some of its alpha emitting daughter products in these samples was studied qualitatively using alpha sensitive nuclear emulsions. These nuclear emulsion plates suggest that U-238 and its long lived daughters U-234, Th-230 and Ra-226, deposit on grain surfaces in very low concentrations (U-238 in sub picogram amounts). Concentrations of alpha activity usually associated with discrete uranium were not observed. On the basis of alpha star counts in the emulsion, Ra-226 appears tomore » be more mobile than Rn-222. Measurements of Po-210 provide an indirect means of estimating the number of Rn-222 atoms that have decayed over the last 80 to 100 years. Many Po-210 highs have been observed in the Red Desert (Wyoming) cores; some directly associated with uranium mineralization. Evidence was not found for the predicted Po-210 concentration gradient produced by the decay of mobile, unsupported Rn-222. The Po-210 analyses and microscopic studies suggest that observed Rn-222 and Po-210 surface anomalies may be associated with widely dispersed very low concentrations of Ra-226 or its longer lived parents including uranium which surround the ore as halos or as weak zones of uranium mineralization. The Po-210 sub-surface soil anomaly map from this study was also compared with earlier surface anomaly maps from the same area based on helium, radon by Track-Etch and uranium surveys. Selective chemical leaching experiments undertaken in an effort to enhance the mobile Ra-222/Po-210 signal were not successful.« less
  • Although radon exposure has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer, fewer than 6% of US homeowners test their homes for radon. This report examines participants' follow-up radon testing behavior subsequent to receiving an initial screening radon level greater than 20 pCi/L. Sixty-two participants in the Iowa State-Wide Rural Radon Screening Survey who had radon screening measurements over 20 pCi/L were questioned by phone survey 3 months after receipt of their radon screening result to assess: whether participants were aware of radon's health risk; if participants recalled the radon screening results; how participants perceived the relative healthmore » risk of radon and whether participants planned follow-up radon testing. Only 19% of the respondents specifically identified lung cancer as the possible adverse health outcome of high radon exposure, and the majority of participants underestimated the health risks high radon levels pose when compared to cigarettes and x-rays. In addition, less than one third (29%) of the participants actually remembered their radon screening level within 10 pCi/L 3 months after receiving their screening results. Only 53% of the individuals correctly interpreted their screening radon level as being in the high range, and only 39% of the participants planned follow-up radon measurements. Receipt of radon screening test results indicating high radon levels was not an adequate motivational factor in itself to stimulate further radon assessment or mitigation. The findings suggest that free radon screening will not result in a dramatic increase in subsequent homeowner initiated remediation or further recommended radon testing. 13 refs., 1 fig., 5 tabs.« less