Radon in indoor air of primary schools: a systematic survey to evaluate factors affecting radon concentration levels and their variability.

Research paper by F F Bochicchio, Z S ZS Žunić, C C Carpentieri, S S Antignani, G G Venoso, V V Carelli, C C Cordedda, N N Veselinović, T T Tollefsen, P P Bossew

Indexed on: 15 Oct '13Published on: 15 Oct '13Published in: Indoor Air


In order to optimize the design of a national survey aimed to evaluate radon exposure of children in schools in Serbia, a pilot study was carried out in all the 334 primary schools of 13 municipalities of Southern Serbia. Based on data from passive measurements, rooms with annual radon concentration >300 Bq/m(3) were found in 5% of schools. The mean annual radon concentration weighted with the number of pupils is 73 Bq/m(3), 39% lower than the unweighted 119 Bq/m(3) average concentration. The actual average concentration when children are in classrooms could be substantially lower. Variability between schools (CV = 65%), between floors (CV = 24%) and between rooms at the same floor (CV = 21%) was analyzed. The impact of school location, floor, and room usage on radon concentration was also assessed (with similar results) by univariate and multivariate analyses. On average, radon concentration in schools within towns is a factor of 0.60 lower than in villages and at higher floors is a factor of 0.68 lower than ground floor. Results can be useful for other countries with similar soil and building characteristics.On average, radon concentrations are substantially higher in schools in villages than in schools located in towns (double,on average). Annual radon concentrations exceeding 300 Bq/m3 were found in 5% of primary schools (generally on ground floors of schools in villages). The considerable variability of radon concentration observed between and within floors indicates a need to monitor concentrations in several rooms for each floor. A single radon detector for each room can be used provided that the measurement error is considerable lower than variability of radon concentration between rooms.