A Geologically Based Indoor-Radon Potential Map of Kentucky

William C. Haneberg, Amanda Wiggins, Douglas C. Curl, Stephen F. Greb, William M. Andrews, Kathy Rademacher, Mary Kay Rayens, Ellen J. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

We combined 71,930 short-term (median duration 4 days) home radon test results with 1:24,000-scale bedrock geologic map coverage of Kentucky to produce a statewide geologically based indoor-radon potential map. The test results were positively skewed with a mean of 266 Bq/m3, median of 122 Bq/m3, and 75th percentile of 289 Bq/m3. We identified 106 formations with ≥10 test results. Analysis of results from 20 predominantly monolithologic formations showed indoor-radon concentrations to be positively skewed on a formation-by-formation basis, with a proportional relationship between sample means and standard deviations. Limestone (median 170 Bq/m3) and dolostone (median 130 Bq/m3) tended to have higher indoor-radon concentrations than siltstones and sandstones (median 67 Bq/m3) or unlithified surficial deposits (median 63 Bq/m3). Individual shales had median values ranging from 67 to 189 Bq/m3; the median value for all shale values was 85 Bq/m3. Percentages of values falling above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action level of 148 Bq/m3 were sandstone and siltstone: 24%, unlithified clastic: 21%, dolostone: 46%, limestone: 55%, and shale: 34%. Mississippian limestones, Ordovician limestones, and Devonian black shales had the highest indoor-radon potential values in Kentucky. Indoor-radon test mean values for the selected formations were also weakly, but statistically significantly, correlated with mean aeroradiometric uranium concentrations. To produce a map useful to nonspecialists, we classified each of the 106 formations into five radon-geologic classes on the basis of their 75th percentile radon concentrations. The statewide map is freely available through an interactive internet map service.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GH000263
JournalGeoHealth
Volume4
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported in part by UK-CARES through Grant P30 ES026529, the Kentucky Department for Public Health Radon Program, and the Kentucky Geological Survey (a state-supported research center at the University of Kentucky). The contents of this paper are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of any of the funding agencies. We are grateful to Bethany Overfield for her work to develop the collaboration that led to the statewide radon-potential map, Emily Morris for GIS and graphics support, and Meg Smath for copy editing the manuscript. We also appreciate the comments of two anonymous reviewers and Associate Editor Vengosh, whose input helped to clarify several aspects of the paper. Commercial product names used in this paper are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by the authors or their organizations.

Funding Information:
This project was supported in part by UK‐CARES through Grant P30 ES026529, the Kentucky Department for Public Health Radon Program, and the Kentucky Geological Survey (a state‐supported research center at the University of Kentucky). The contents of this paper are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of any of the funding agencies. We are grateful to Bethany Overfield for her work to develop the collaboration that led to the statewide radon‐potential map, Emily Morris for GIS and graphics support, and Meg Smath for copy editing the manuscript. We also appreciate the comments of two anonymous reviewers and Associate Editor Vengosh, whose input helped to clarify several aspects of the paper. Commercial product names used in this paper are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by the authors or their organizations.

Publisher Copyright:
©2020. The Authors.

Keywords

  • geohealth
  • geologic map
  • lung cancer
  • public health
  • radon
  • scientific communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Epidemiology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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