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Machine Learning as a Next-Generation Tool for Indoor Air Radon Exposure Prediction

By: , & Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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Indoor air quality is strongly influenced by the presence of radioactive radon (222Rn) gas. Indeed, exposure to high 222Rn concentrations is unequivocally linked to DNA damage, lung cancer, and is a worsening issue in North American residences, having increased over time within newer housing stocks as a function of as yet unclear variables. Indoor air radon concentration can be influenced by a wide range of environmental, structural, and behavioral factors. As some of these factors are quantitative while others are qualitative, no single statistical model can determine indoor radon level precisely, while simultaneously considering all these variables across a complex and highly diverse dataset. The ability of machine learning to simultaneously analyze multiple quantitative and qualitative features makes it suitable to predict radon with a high degree of precision. Using Canadian long-term indoor air radon exposure data, we are using an artificial neural network with random weights and polynomial statistical models in MATLAB to predict radon levels as a function of geospatial and built environmental metrics. Our initial artificial neural network with random weights model run by sigmoid activation tested different combinations of variables and showed the highest prediction accuracy within the reasonable iterations. Here, we present details of these emerging methods and discuss strengths and weaknesses compared to the traditional artificial neural network and statistical methods commonly used to predict indoor air quality in different countries. We propose artificial neural network with random weights as a highly effective method for predicting indoor radon.

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