Concerned about Your Granite Countertops and Radon or Radiation?
If you are concerned about radon and radiation in your home because of granite countertops, it may be because you have heard the commercials advertising the need for a radon gas detector in every home that has them. A media frenzy has ensued and much of the misleading reports have been fueled by the manufacturers of competing synthetic countertop and flooring products. Consumers, confused and worried about their granite counters, have made granite and radon an emotional issue. Many are worried about installing granite or are worried about the countertops they already have. The worries are unfounded.
What Experts say about Granite Countertops and Radon
Dr. John McCarthy of Environmental Health & Engineering and Dr. John D. Spengler of the Harvard School of Public Health recently concluded: “A considerable amount of research has been published in peer-reviewed scientific literature and all of it comes to the same conclusion: the levels of radon coming off a granite countertop are not excessive and not showing any risk for the population in their homes.” The bottom line is that scientific research over the years has concluded that granite countertops pose no health risk to consumers.
Some Helpful Information about Radon and Radiation
Q. What is radon?
A. It is a naturally occurring gas found throughout our environment. Often it’s found in the basements of homes built in the Midwestern and Eastern regions of the U.S. According to the EPA, the primary source of radon, by far, is the soil surrounding any structure. If elevated levels of radon are present inside the home, the best remedy is to increase ventilation – this is easily done by adding vent fans to enclosed spaces like basements. The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) recently stated that “Soil, sand and rock underneath the home are the primary sources of indoor radon gas.”
Radiation: It’s All Around Us! It’s in the air we breathe, in the water that we drink, in the soil and rocks we stand on and in the sun’s rays that we bask in! Added to this is the radiation we get from man-made sources such as x-rays, medical treatments and building materials.
Typical Contributions to Radon Content of Indoor Air
- 69.3% Soil around house
- 18.5% Well water
- 9.2% Outdoor air
- 2.5% Building materials
- 0.5% Public water supplies
Read more about this issue at the Marble Institute of America – www.marble-institute.com. The MIA has been the world’s leading information resource and advocate for the natural stone industry for over 60 years.
BTW, I went to one of their seminars recently at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (K/BIS) in Atlanta. The President of the Marble Institute of America stated that the only way a human could get any harmful levels of radiation from a granite counter would be to lie down on the granite and stay still for over 70 years. I think that should put the question to bed.
Sherry A. Faure, CKD, CBD
NKBA No. CA Chapter President