Scientific Reports – The COVID-19 pandemic produced widespread behaviour changes that shifted how people split their time between different environments. The authors report an update of North American activity patterns pre- and post-pandemic, and implications to radon gas exposure, a leading cause of lung cancer. A survey was conducted with 4,009 Canadian households. Overall time spent indoors remained unchanged, but time in primary residence increased from 66.4 to 77% of life (+ 1062 h/y) after pandemic onset, increasing annual radiation doses from residential radon by 19.2% (0.97 mSv/y). Greater changes were experienced by younger people in newer urban or suburban properties, and those employed in managerial, administrative, or professional roles. This work supports re-evaluating environmental health risks modified by still-changing activity patterns.

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As a national organization, our work extends across borders into many Indigenous lands throughout Canada. We gratefully acknowledge that our host institution, the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus, is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.