For many years, homeowners have wondered about the safety of granite countertops in their homes. There have been reports that these granite countertops may contain radium. Those elements can emit radon, which is a radioactive gas that causes lung cancer. If you are concerned about radon in your countertops, please keep reading to learn the truth about granite and this hazardous gas.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a chemical gas. It can be found in water, sunshine, soil, rocks, and air. You can find trace amounts of radon in any part of the country. However, you only need to be concerned when there are harmful levels of exposure to your body.
The most common spot to find radon is in the soil around a home. Since this gas is naturally occurring in the ground, there have been concerns about granite countertops. As you know, granite is a natural material. Some people are misinformed and have tried to connect the mined granite with radon found in the soil. As a result, many homeowners believe granite could contain some hazardous radon emissions.
Before you pass on adding a beautiful granite countertop to your home, take a few minutes to learn the truth about this common myth. A little education will put your mind at ease about these countertop options.
The Origin of Radon
Radon is undetectable, and it is found naturally throughout the environment. In many homes, there could be trace amounts of this radioactive gas. Many people choose to have their air quality inspected to alert them to any signs of dangerous radon levels.
As you already know, radon is often emitted from the soil layer. Some homeowners believe that this gas could be present in natural stones, like granite. However, when radon is outside, the exposure levels are very minimal and will not cause any harm.
There are plenty of places where radon could lurk, including televisions, smoke detectors, concrete blocks, and Brazilian nuts. The radiation levels from these products are much higher than those found in a granite countertop. Those in the granite industry have always been concerned with the health and safety of their customers. For that reason, there have been numerous studies conducted to verify granite’s safety in homes.
Safety of Granite Countertops
A report by the Environmental Health & Engineering stated that granite countertops “emit low doses of ionizing radiation.” These levels were “well below levels that would pose a health concern.” Also, “the radon levels are lower than background levels of radon typically found outdoors and indoors.” This report also determined that concrete and sheetrock had higher levels of emitting radon than a granite countertop.
While most granite countertops will only give off a trace amount of radon, rare instances produce higher levels. The EPA has a safety limit of 4 radon picocuries per liter of air. For the most part, granite is safe. However, some granite has been mined in areas with high levels of radioactivity. You shouldn’t worry about your countertop though.
The EPA even issued a statement stating that there is no evidence to point to granite as a significant source of radon. The genuine concern for radon lies in the basement of a home. These areas are more likely to contain radon than your kitchen or bathroom counter.
Granite in Your Home
Now that you know that radon levels in granite are not a concern for the EPA, you can go ahead and enjoy these beautiful stones in your home. You can use granite to prepare a meal. These countertops are safe for the whole family. You can always conduct a professional radon test in your home for some extra peace of mind. A technician will monitor the air to see if your home has safe levels of this gas. You will not find radon in the granite, but it could be lurking in other places around your home.
Should I Test My Countertop?
If you are still concerned about the safety of your granite countertops, you might want to have them tested. For the best results, you should schedule an air quality test. These tests will check the radon levels throughout your home, not just the countertops. You might be surprised to learn that there are other sources of radon emissions in your home. If you find a high level, you can contact a professional to bring your home back to a safe radon gas level. When left unnoticed, radon can cause cancer and other issues for your family.
Install That Granite Countertop
You might have concerns about installing a natural stone in your home. However, granite is a safe and beautiful choice for your countertops. There have been numerous tests conducted on the safety of granite and its emission levels of radon. Over the years, there is no significant proof that these countertops pose any type of threat to your health. Along with that, the EPA has deemed them safe for use in your home. You have no reason to feel concerned about using these countertop options.
In addition to that, there is no harm in preparing food on the surface or allowing your family members to touch the stone. The EPA has stated that granite is not very porous. Since the gas cannot enter into the stone, there is a minimal amount of radon emissions from granite.
Radon originating from your soil is a greater risk to your health than a granite countertop. It is also important to remember that any trace amount of radon emitted from a kitchen or bathroom is likely to be diluted in a home. With proper ventilation, you should not have to worry about this dangerous gas.
Looking for Granite Companies Nearby?
Now that your mind is at ease about radon and granite, you should think about adding this beautiful stone to your home. Granite is available in many colors, and there is bound to be the right match for your home’s design. At Marble Concepts, we can also help you find other types of natural stone for your countertops. If you would like a consultation, please give us a call at 215-396-7393.