Mapping indoor radon hazard in Germany: The geogenic component

Sci Total Environ. 2021 Aug 1;780:146601. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146601. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Abstract

Indoor radon is considered as an indoor air pollutant due to its carcinogenic effect. Since the main source of indoor radon is the ground beneath the house, we utilize the geogenic radon potential (GRP) and a geogenic radon hazard index (GRHI) for predicting the geogenic component of the indoor Rn hazard in Germany. For this purpose, we link indoor radon data (n = 44,629) to maps of GRP and GRHI and fit logistic regression models to calculate the probabilities that indoor Rn exceeds thresholds of 100 Bq/m3 and 300 Bq/m3. The estimated probability was averaged for every municipality by considering only the estimates within the built-up area. Finally, the mean exceedance probability per municipality was coupled with the respective residential building stock for estimating the number of buildings with indoor Rn above 100 Bq/m3 and 300 Bq/m3 for each municipality. We found that (1) GRHI is a better predictor than GRP for indoor radon hazard in Germany, (2) the estimated number of buildings above 100 Bq/m3 and 300 Bq/m3 in Germany is ~2 million (11.6% of all residential buildings) and ~ 350,000 (1.9%), respectively, (3) areas where 300 Bq/m3 exceedance is greater than 10% comprise only 0.8% of the German building stock but 6.3% of buildings with indoor Rn exceeding 300 Bq/m3, and (4) most urban areas and, hence, most buildings (77%) are located in low hazard regions. The implications for Rn protection are twofold: (1) the Rn priority area concept is cost-efficient in a sense that it allows to find the most buildings that exceed a threshold concentration with a given amount of resources, and (2) for an optimal reduction of lung cancer risk areas outside of Rn priority areas must be addressed since most hazardous indoor Rn concentrations occur in low to medium hazard areas.

Keywords: Building stock; Geogenic radon; Hazard mapping; Indoor radon; Predictive modelling; Radon priority areas.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive* / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor* / analysis
  • Germany
  • Housing
  • Radiation Monitoring*
  • Radon* / analysis

Substances

  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Radon