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Title: Lung Cancer Risk from Radon in Marcellus Shale Gas in Northeast U.S. Homes

The amount of radon in natural gas varies with its source. Little has been published about the radon from shale gas to date, making estimates of its impact on radon‐induced lung cancer speculative. We measured radon in natural gas pipelines carrying gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Radon concentrations ranged from 1,520 to 2,750 Bq/m3(41–74 pCi/L), and the throughput‐weighted average was 1,983 Bq/m3(54 pCi/L). Potential radon exposure due to the use of Marcellus Shale gas for cooking and space heating using vent‐free heaters or gas ranges in northeastern U.S. homes and apartments was assessed. Though the measured radon concentrations are higher than what has been previously reported, it is unlikely that exposure from natural gas cooking would exceed 1.2 Bq/m3(<1% of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's action level). Using worst‐case assumptions, we estimate the excess lifetime (70 years) lung cancer risk associated with cooking to be 1.8×10−4(interval spanning 95% of simulation results: 8.5×10−5, 3.4×10−4). The risk profile for supplemental heating with unvented gas appliances is similar. Individuals using unvented gas appliances to provide primary heating may face lifetime risks as high as 3.9×10−3. Under current housing stock and gas consumption assumptions, expected levels of residential radon exposure due to unvented combustion of Marcellus Shale natural gas in the Northeast United States do not result in a detectable change in the lung cancer death rates.

 
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NSF-PAR ID:
10247458
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley-Blackwell
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Risk Analysis
Volume:
36
Issue:
11
ISSN:
0272-4332
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: p. 2105-2119
Size(s):
["p. 2105-2119"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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