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J Hazard Mater. 2016 Aug 15;314:155-163. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2016.04.051. Epub 2016 Apr 21.

Effect of indoor-generated airborne particles on radon progeny dynamics.

Author information

1
Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino, FR, Italy.
2
Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino, FR, Italy. Electronic address: l.stabile@unicas.it.
3
National Institute of Ionizing Radiation Metrology (INMRI-ENEA), Rome, Italy.
4
Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino, FR, Italy; International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

Abstract

In order to investigate the interaction between radon progeny and particles, an experimental campaign was carried out in a radon chamber at the Italian National Institute of Ionizing Radiation Metrology, quantifying the amount of attached and unattached radon daughters present in air, as well as the equilibrium factor in the presence of particles generated through indoor sources. A fixed radon concentration was maintained, while particles were generated using incense sticks, mosquito coils and gas combustion. Aerosols were characterized in terms of particle concentrations and size distributions. Simultaneously, radon concentration and attached/unattached potential alpha energy concentration in the air were continuously monitored by two different devices, based on alpha spectroscopy techniques. The presence of particles was found to affect the attached fraction of radon decay products, in such a way that the particles acted as a sink for radionuclides. In terms of sources which emit large particles (e.g. incense, mosquito coils), which greatly increase particle surface area concentrations, the Equilibrium Factor was found to double with respect to the background level before particle generation sessions. On the contrary, the radon decay product dynamics were not influenced by gas combustion processes, mainly due to the small surface area of the particles emitted.

KEYWORDS:

Airborne particles; Equilibrium factor; Indoor air quality; Radon; Radon progeny

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