[ RadSafe ] RadSafe Digest, Vol 1994, Issue 1

Kitto, Michael (HEALTH) michael.kitto at health.ny.gov
Wed Jan 13 12:26:37 CST 2016

As a scientist that has measured radon in natural gas, I can say the radon levels vary depending on the well and sampling locations.  Natural gas transported from TX or OK to the northeast US has extremely low radon levels (<0.1 pCi/L) due to decay during transport (I recall it travels 10 mph).  I have measured wellhead levels of 50 pCi/L in NY.  I had a colleague send me a sample from his Maryland location, it had about 27 pCi/L at the lab; we surmised it was fairly fresh gas from the hydrofracking in PA.  When one deals with high use rates, such as NY City or suburban DC, there is just not enough storage space for the gas to allow the radon to decay completely.  Fortunately, little natural gas gets openly burned (exhausted) inside homes except for stoves/ovens; and this is a trivial contribution to the indoor-radon level in most situations (recall that the air-exchange rate is roughly 0.4 air-changes per hour for homes).  - Mike Kitto

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