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Associations Between School Characteristics and Classroom Radon Concentrations in Utah’s Public Schools: A Project Completed by University Environmental Health Students

1
Department of Public Health, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
2
Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
3
Radon Program, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5839; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165839
Received: 25 July 2020 / Revised: 9 August 2020 / Accepted: 10 August 2020 / Published: 12 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Radon (²²²Rn), a radioactive gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. Classroom radon concentrations in public schools in our target area had never been measured or had not been measured in many years. We had university students, primarily enrolled in environmental health courses, measure radon concentrations in 2289 classrooms in 66 of Utah’s public schools and identify school characteristics associated with classroom radon concentrations. The geometric mean (GM) classroom radon concentration was 31.39 (95% confidence interval (CI): 27.16, 36.28) Bq/m3 (GM: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.72, 0.98 pCi/L). Thirty-seven (2%) classrooms in 13 (20%) schools had radon concentrations at or above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended action level of 148 Bq/m3 (4.0 pCi/L). Number of classrooms had a u-shaped association with classroom radon concentrations. The year the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system was installed was inversely associated with having classroom radon concentrations at or above the EPA’s recommended action level. Number of classrooms and number of students had u-shaped associations with having classroom radon concentrations at or above the EPA’s recommended action level. Classroom radon concentrations decreased when schools’ HVAC systems were on. Replacing HVAC systems and turning/keeping them on may be effective radon mitigation strategies to prevent radon-associated lung cancer, especially for small and large schools. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental; exposure assessment; occupational; radon; school environmental; exposure assessment; occupational; radon; school
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MDPI and ACS Style

Davis, E.A.; Ou, J.Y.; Chausow, C.; Verdeja, M.A.; Divver, E.; Johnston, J.D.; Beard, J.D. Associations Between School Characteristics and Classroom Radon Concentrations in Utah’s Public Schools: A Project Completed by University Environmental Health Students. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5839. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165839

AMA Style

Davis EA, Ou JY, Chausow C, Verdeja MA, Divver E, Johnston JD, Beard JD. Associations Between School Characteristics and Classroom Radon Concentrations in Utah’s Public Schools: A Project Completed by University Environmental Health Students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(16):5839. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165839

Chicago/Turabian Style

Davis, Elizabeth A., Judy Y. Ou, Cheyenne Chausow, Marco A. Verdeja, Eleanor Divver, James D. Johnston, and John D. Beard 2020. "Associations Between School Characteristics and Classroom Radon Concentrations in Utah’s Public Schools: A Project Completed by University Environmental Health Students" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 16: 5839. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165839

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