Reliability of inexpensive charcoal and alpha-track radon monitors

Abstract

A comparison between single short-term radon measurements and annual radon measurements in basements shows that significant uncertainties should be associated with the short-term measurements. Activated charcoal radon monitors which measure radon over a 3 to 7 day interval yield measurements that should carry a ± 90% uncertainty in terms of estimating annual radon concentration. Alpha-track radon monitors which measure radon over a 3 month interval should carry a ± 30% uncertainty. Decisions about home purchases, home remediation and the development of risk characterizations may often be incorrect if currently popular but unrealistically low estimates of uncertainty are applied to short-term radon measurements. Optimal results are obtained from year-long alpha-track measurements.

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Mose, D.G., Mushrush, G.W. & Chrosniak, C.E. Reliability of inexpensive charcoal and alpha-track radon monitors. Nat Hazards 3, 341–355 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00124392

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Key words

  • Radon
  • uranium