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Is There a Risk of Radon Contamination in Granite Countertops?

Fact or Fiction About Granite Countertops?


Custom kitchen with granite slab counter tops
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Granite is one of the most popular material used for kitchen and bathroom countertops. In fact, besides marble, granite is considered the decorating standard for luxury countertops. The reason is simple: granite countertops look beautiful in almost any style of room, they’re durable, and they’re easy to work on. That said, there are some who believe there are some dangers.

It can be no surprise that the bad publicity and concern about radon poisoning in granite counters is coming most loudly from the manufacturers of alternate countertop materials such as solid surface, tile, and marble.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family's health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually.”

Manufacturers of marble and granite countertops claim that the allegations of danger from radon poisoning are highly exaggerated. The levels of radon, and even uranium and potassium, are so low that they do not present a threat to health.

When emitted radon levels exceed the standard acceptable level of 4.0 “picoCuries per liter of air,” it’s probably time to think about removing the granite. That level would be equal to the cancer risk of smoking ½ pack of cigarettes a day, according to The New York Times.

It’s thought that generally the radon levels test higher in red, pink, and purple-toned granite.

If this is something you're concerned about you can try a DIY home radon test. Most general hardware stores and home centers have do-it-yourself radon tests or you can find them online at HomeRadonTest.com. The tests can be placed around the home to determine if radon is present and where the highest levels of the poison are.

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