Radon concentration in indoor air has been measured in many countries in a large number of buildings - mainly in houses but also in apartments and workplaces - mostly as a result of the application of radon policies and regulation requirements. However, few systematic analyses are available on radon concentration variations within buildings and between close buildings, especially as regards workplaces; such variations can have a significant impact on indoor radon exposure evaluation, and ultimately on the assessment of the dose from radon received by workers. Therefore, a project was started in 2006 aimed to study the spatial variation of radon concentration among and within about 40 buildings of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), a research institute of public health located in Rome over a small area of less than 1 km2. Nuclear track detectors (CR-39) were used to measure radon concentration for two consecutive six-month periods, in more than 700 rooms of the surveyed buildings. The paper describes the project in detail and preliminary results regarding 558 rooms in 29 buildings. Coefficient of variation (CV) was calculated as a measure of relative variation of radon concentration between buildings, between floors, and between rooms on the same floor. The CV between buildings resulted quite high (88%), a lower CV (42%) was found for variation between floors, whereas room-to-room CV on the same floor ranged from 25% at first floor level to 48% at basement level. Floor mean ratios, with ground floor as the reference level, were calculated for each building in order to study the correlation between radon concentration and floor levels. Although no clear trend was observed, the average basement/ground floor ratio of radon concentrations resulted about 2.0, whereas the average sixth floor/ground floor ratio of radon concentrations was 0.5. Some discussion on the potential impact of the results of this study on policies and radon regulations are also included in the paper. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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