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Indoor and Outdoor Radon Concentration Levels in Lebanon

Habib, Rima R.1; Nuwayhid, Rida Y.2; Hamdan, Zena1; Alameddine, Ibrahim3; Katul, Gabriel4

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000888
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Lebanon’s lung cancer rates, among the highest in the Arab region, contribute to the burden of noncommunicable diseases. A number of studies have shown that lung cancer risk increases when smokers vs. nonsmokers exposed to elevated radon levels are compared. This research employs indoor and outdoor space and time concentration surveys across Lebanon, where the smoking rate among the population is among the highest in the world. The distributional properties of measured radon concentration were shown to be lognormal with median indoor and outdoor concentrations of 17 and 10 Bq m−3, respectively. Standard deviation for indoor concentrations was 1.2 times smaller than its outdoor counterpart, suggesting that weather-related patterns affect outdoor radon concentration variability. No significant spatial association was detected across seasons for indoor and outdoor radon concentrations. Geographical location, proximity to faults, and housing construction material had no significant impact on outdoor and indoor radon concentration variations. When lognormal distributions were used to determine exceedance probability of the recommended reference radon concentration, they were smaller than 0.1%. While exhibiting high seasonal variability, the study shows that radon does not appear to be a public health concern in Lebanon.

1Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11‐0236, Riad El Solh 1107 2020 Beirut, Lebanon;

2College of Engineering, Hariri Canadian University, Mechref, Chouf, Lebanon;

3Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, American University of Beirut, Bliss Street, P.O. Box 11‐0236 Beirut, Lebanon;

4Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Box 90328, Durham, NC 27708‐0328.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact: Rima R. Habib, Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11‐0236, Riad El Solh 1107 2020 Beirut, Lebanon, or email at rima.habib@aub.edu.lb.

(Manuscript accepted 11 March 2018)

© 2018 by the Health Physics Society