Retrospective determination of radon in houses.

Nature

PubMedID: 3393224

Samuelsson C. Retrospective determination of radon in houses. Nature. 1988;334(6180):338-40.
In the 1970s it was statistically proved that exposure to radon daughter products caused lung cancer in miners. High concentrations of radon daughters have since been found in houses. Any epidemiological radon study begun today is hampered because relevant exposure data are difficult to obtain owing to the long latency period between exposure and tumour manifestation. Here I present a method for measuring cumulative radon daughter levels, which takes advantage of the fact that the first long-lived radon daughter (210Pb, half-life 22 yr) becomes firmly attached to glass surfaces in a house. By measuring the surface activity concentration of the alpha-emitter 210Po, the time-integrated radon, or radon daughter, concentration can be estimated. Thus, indoor glass can act as a long-term retrospective or prospective exposure meter for radon in dwellings.