This is a recording of a seminar from early September, which was part of the a session that organised by the Social science and Humanities in ionising radiation Research (SHARE) in their RICOMET 2020 conference.
Radon, which is a radioactive gas and that under some condition can accumulate in houses (and especially basements) and is recognised as carcinogenic. Moreover, some refitting of the building can address this risk. Finally, it can also vary significantly even within nearby locations due to localised conditions – down to how the space is used. So all that makes it very suitable for citizen science: it follows the Caren Cooper’s rule for location: people’s basements, just like their backyard, are inaccessible to science. This is because of the complexity of organising access. It requires distribution of measurement, and, in cases where the levels require action, there is a need to raise awareness ad to help in understanding a scientific issue. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising to hear about examples of citizen science projects in this area. There are some very interesting examples, such as the Irish EPA use of public libraries to host equipment.
I was asked to open the workshop with an overview of citizen science, but the rest of the talks and the examples are interesting and showing another area where citizen science can contribute to environmental monitoring and action.