Date of Award

5-13-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Christine Stauber

Second Advisor

Dajun Dai

Abstract

Dajun DaiRadon is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring gas. It is currently the second leading cause of lung cancer and the number one cause of lung cancer to non-smokers in the United States. DeKalb County offers free screening for radon for residents. However, screening rates vary across the county. This pilot study focused on 14 selected tracts within DeKalb County with relatively low levels of radon screening. Over 200 households were recruited and homes were tested for indoor radon concentrations on the lowest livable floor over an 8-week period from March – May 2016. Tract-level characteristics were examined to understand the varitations of race, income, education, and poverty status between the 14 selected tracts and all of DeKalb County. The 14 selected tracts were comparable to all of DeKalb County in most factors besides race. Radon was detected in 73% of the homes sample and 4% had levels above the EPA guideline of 4 pCi/L. Multi-variate linear regression was used to compare all housing construction characteristics with radon concentrations and suggested that having a basement was the strongest predictive factor for detectable and/or hazardous levels of radon. Radon screening can identify problems and spur home owners to remediate but low screening rates may impact the potential health impact of free screening programs. More research should be done to identify why screening rates vary in order to identify ways to enhance screening and reduce radon exposure in DeKalb County.

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