Online Program

Radon Gas Concentrations and Geographic Distribution in Western Michigan

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Azizur Molla, M.P.H., Ph.D., Public Health, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI
Peter Wampler, Ph.D. Geology, Geology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI
Alicia Killinger, Student, Public Health, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI
Kirsten Curtis, Student, Public Health, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI
Denielle Riley, Student, Public Health, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI
Radon is an odorless, tasteless, invisible carcinogenic radioactive gas that is affecting the health of homeowners across the country. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually.  In order to understand indoor risk in western Michigan indoor radon concentration were measured in 345 households during the winter of 2008 through the winter of 2010 in Kent and Ottawa Counties.  Radon levels were measured using a digital radon-testing device called the “Safety Siren Pro Series 3 Radon Gas Detector”.  Indoor radon concentration was measured over a 48-hour period from each household.

The EPA recommended limit for indoor radon level is 4 picocuries per liter of air (PCi/L).  In Ottawa County approximately 17.7% (N=130) of sampled households exceeded EPA limits; and in Kent county approximately 15.3% (N=215) had indoor radon concentrations greater than EPA limits.  Our study results are roughly two times greater than a previous United States Geologic Survey (USGS) study in 1993.

In this paper, spatial distribution patterns and correlations with geologic features are explored using ArcMap 10.1 Geographic Information System (GIS).  Elevated indoor radon levels are broadly correlative with a shale-bearing bedrock formation called the Michigan Formation.  The spatial distribution and correlation with geological features of indoor radon gas may provide a means to evaluate risk in homes where measurements have not been made.  This will inform homeowners of radon risk and allow them to implement preventive measures in cooperation with local health departments and other stakeholders.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify and analyze household radon levels in West Michigan. Explain linkages between geologic formations and radon distribution. Describe community intervention strategies to lower radon risks.

Keyword(s): Air Pollution & Respiratory Health, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am working as an Associate Professor position in the Department of Public Health, College of Health Professions at Grand Valley State University. My area of interest includes social & behavioral health, community health, environmental health, health education and promotion, health communication, and research methods. I have ten years of college and university level experience in teaching and doing research on public health issues in Bangladesh, in the U.S. Ghana, and in Haiti.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.