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Winnipeg Radon Testing: Comparison of Test Durations, Effects of House Characteristics, and Efficacy of Floor-Drain Seals

Warkentin, Pamela E.M.*†; Johnson, Harry M.*

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000257

A research study has investigated the correlation of radon test data for three testing periods obtained in a set of 50 homes. The homes were part of the housing stock in a long-established subdivision in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for which it was initially hypothesized that a high percentage of homes had radon levels above the Canadian guideline. Co-linear tests, all commencing on the same date, were conducted over periods of 5 d, 30 d, and 91 d under closed building conditions during the 2009-10 heating season using electret ion radon detectors, supplemented in some instances by measurements with a continuous radon monitor. Radon levels in 33 of the 50 homes exceeded the Canadian radon guideline of 200 Bq m−3 in 91‐d tests. False-positive and false-negative analyses of the 5‐d tests and 30‐d tests were conducted relative to the 91‐d tests in the respective homes. False positive/false negative analyses indicated that the short-term and the medium-term testing results reflected the results of the 91‐d tests over 85% of the time. Precision testing of the radon data was carried out in accordance with quality assurance protocols. Correlation of a building construction survey with radon data indicated that earth-floor crawl spaces were common contributors to elevated radon levels. Testing was also done to measure the efficacy of a commercial brand of floor drain seal installed to lower radon levels, which resulted in an average radon reduction of 47% in homes without earth-floor crawl spaces.

*Radonmatters Winnipeg, Manitoba; †Now works for Canadian–National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP).

For correspondence contact: Pamela E.M. Warkentin, 4 Donald McClintock Bay, Winnipeg, MB R2G 3N3, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 23 October 2014)

© 2015 by the Health Physics Society