Work to save dose: contrasting effective dose rates from radon exposure in workplaces and residences against the backdrop of public and occupational limits

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Office workers are exposed to radon while at work and at home. Though there has been a multitude of studies reporting the measurements of radon concentrations and potential lung and effective doses associated with radon and progeny exposure in homes, similar studies on the concentrations and subsequent effective dose rates in the non-mine workplaces are lacking. Additionally, there are few, if any, comparative analyses of radon exposures at more 'typical' workplace with residential exposures within the same county. The purposes of this study were to measure radon concentrations in office and residential spaces in the same county and explore the ... continued below

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Whicker, Jeffrey J & Mcnaughton, Michael W January 1, 2009.

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Office workers are exposed to radon while at work and at home. Though there has been a multitude of studies reporting the measurements of radon concentrations and potential lung and effective doses associated with radon and progeny exposure in homes, similar studies on the concentrations and subsequent effective dose rates in the non-mine workplaces are lacking. Additionally, there are few, if any, comparative analyses of radon exposures at more 'typical' workplace with residential exposures within the same county. The purposes of this study were to measure radon concentrations in office and residential spaces in the same county and explore the radiation dose implications. Sixty-five track-etch detectors were deployed in office spaces and 47 were deployed in residences, all within Los Alamos County, New Mexico, USA. The sampling periods for these measurements were generally about three months. The measured concentrations were used to calculate and compare effective dose rates resulting from exposure while at work and at home. Results showed that full-time office workers receive on average about 8 times greater exposure at home than while in the office (2.3 mSv yr-! versus 0.3 mSv yr-!). The estimated effective dose rate for a more homebound person was about 3 mSv yr-!. Estimating effective doses from background radon exposure in the same county as Los Alamos National Laboratory, with thousands of'radiological workers,' highlights interesting contrasts in radiation protection standards that span public and occupational settings. For example, the effective dose rate from background radon exposure in unregulated office spaces ranged up to 1.1 mSv yr-!, which is similar to the 1 mSv yr-! threshold for regulation ofa 'radiological worker,' as defined in the Department of Energy regulations for occupational exposure. Additionally, the estimated average effective dose total of> 3 mSv yf! from radon background exposure in homes stands in contrast to the 0.1 mSv yr-! air pathway effective public dose limit regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency for radioactive air emissions.

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248

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  • Journal Name: Health Physics; Journal Volume: 97; Journal Issue: 3

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  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-00899
  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-899
  • Grant Number: AC52-06NA25396
  • DOI: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3181aba9e4 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 956418
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc929156

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  • January 1, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2016, 6:18 p.m.

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Whicker, Jeffrey J & Mcnaughton, Michael W. Work to save dose: contrasting effective dose rates from radon exposure in workplaces and residences against the backdrop of public and occupational limits, article, January 1, 2009; [New Mexico]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc929156/: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.