Dr. Douglas Mose and Dr. George Mushrush, and their graduate students, have been examining the variability of radioactivity in air and water. The radioactivity is a known carcinogen, and is present as isotopes of radon and polonium. Their studies have shown that airborne radioactivity in homes is significantly greater than average in homes located in the western part of Fairfax County, and that in all homes, the indoor airborne radioactivity is significantly increased during rainstorms.
They also found that homes with cinder block basement walls and oil or gas furnaces tend to have more indoor radioactivity than homes with poured concrete walls and electrical heat. Recently Mose and Mushrush traveled to Poland as part of an international study of radioactivity, and made similar discoveries because soils in Poland and Virginia are generally similar.
Their studies on drinking water have shown that radioactivity is present in drinking water provided by water wells, and that most of the Fairfax County water wells are 5-10 times as radioactive as the maximum recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They have examined enough homes to determine which bedrock materials are of particular concern, and they experimented with several methods of radioactivity removal from water and developed an inexpensive nearly 100% removal technology.
Drs. Mose and Mushrush, and their students, have been studying steam contamination by heavy metals in Prince William Forest National Park, to determine if current remediation efforts are successful. They are also monitoring the deposition in rainfall of mercury in central Virginia. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal, most of which originates from coal-burning power stations. Mose and Mushrush operate part of the mercury deposition network supported by EPA/DOE/USGS scientists.