Denman, A. R., Groves-Kirkby, N. P., Groves-Kirkby, C. J., Crockett, R. G. M., Phillips, P. S. and Woolridge, A. C. (2007) Health implications of radon distribution in living rooms and bedrooms in U.K. dwellings – a case study in Northamptonshire. Environment International.33(8), pp. 999-1011. 0160-4120.
Denman, A. R., Groves-Kirkby, N. P., Groves-Kirkby, C. J., Crockett, R. G. M., Phillips, P. S. and Woolridge, A. C.
Environmental radon exposure of residents of domestic premises in the United Kingdom (UK) and elsewhere in Europe is estimated on the basis of the measured radon concentrations in, and the relative occupancies of, the principal living room and bedroom. While studies on radon concentration variability in the individual units in apartment blocks in various countries have been described, little data has been reported on variability in two-storey single-family dwellings, and the majority of extant studies consolidate living room and bedroom data early in the analysis. To investigate this further, detailed analysis was made of radon concentration data from a set of thirty-four homes situated in areas of Northamptonshire known to exhibit high radon levels. All homes were of typical UK construction of brick/block/stone walls under a pitched tile/slate roof. Approximately 50% of the sample were detached houses, the remainder being semi-detached (duplex) or terraced (row-house). Around 25% of the sample possessed cellars, while 12% were single-storey dwellings (bungalows), reflecting the typical incidence of this type of dwelling in England. In the two-storey homes, all monitored bedrooms were on the upper floor. Distribution of the ratios of bedroom/living room radon concentrations (BR/LR ratio) in individual properties was left-skewed (mean 0.67, median 0.73, range 0.05–1.05) with a tail extending to just above 1.0. The mean is consistent with the outcome of earlier extensive studies in England, while the variability depends principally on the characteristics of the property, and not on seasonal factors. In a small set of homes, the BR/LR ratio was anomalously low, (mean 0.3). BR/LR ratios in single-storey homes clustered around a value of 1.0, indicating that house design, rather than lifestyle, is the dominant factor in determining bedroom radon concentrations. Homes with higher mean annual radon concentrations showed lower BR/LR ratios, supporting our proposal that, in some homes, radon emanation from building materials may comprise a significant component of the overall radon level.