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Article
December 25, 1987

Smoking and Radon-Reply

Author Affiliations

Bureau of Radiation and Medical Devices Health and Welfare Canada Ottawa

Bureau of Radiation and Medical Devices Health and Welfare Canada Ottawa

JAMA. 1987;258(24):3515. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400240046016
Abstract

In Reply.—  We disagree strongly with Dr Ravenholt's hypotheses that polonium 210 contributes significantly to alpha particle activity in indoor air and thereby frustrates attempts to estimate household radon levels.Radon in air inside a dwelling is due to the migration of radon gas from soil underlying the dwelling. Many factors influence this process, including soil characteristics; the construction of the dwelling's foundations; prevailing atmospheric conditions, namely, humidity, barometric pressure, temperature, and wind speed and direction; and the activities of the occupants. It is therefore not surprising that there is a wide variation in radon levels in adjacent buildings.Average radon levels in dwellings are usually determined by the use of time-integrating passive radon detectors. One type of device is designed to exclude aerosol particles to which radon decay products and polonium 210 might be attached—the alpha track detector. In another common device, radon is absorbed on charcoal and its

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