Studies repeatedly show granite countertops pose NO health risk: Repeated studies from respected scientists have come to the same conclusion: Radon emissions from granite countertops aren’t even close to posing a health risk. While it’s true that samples can vary and some samples can be more of a source of radiation than others – the highest emission rates ever reported in scientific literature result in concentrations that are hundreds of even thousands of times lower than the EPA’s guidelines.
All kitchen countertops create emissions. Virtually all countertop surfaces emit something, including chemicals, particles, radon and radiation. If the concentrations were high, they each could pose a health risk. But the fact is that all these emissions are tiny and all are diluted into household air. Think of it like painting a room. Paint emits chemicals that we can smell, and if we were to put our faces right up to the wall and breathe in a concentrated dose, it could be harmful. But those chemicals dilute in the air of a room. And the air in the room exchanges with air from other rooms, further diluting the emissions to where they pose no health risk to you or your family.
Radiation and radon are all around us. That’s a fact of life. Yes, it’s scary to watch someone on TV waving a Geiger counter over a granite countertop and hearing it click loudly. It’s scary, but it’s also meaningless.
- First, you cannot measure radon with a Geiger counter. The EPA says radon measurements should be performed to test the overall air quality of an entire home or structure – not just one emission source.
- Second, you may not realize that the same clicking happens if you point a Geiger counter at your smoke detectors, your television, your computer, a bowl of Brazil nuts or potatoes on your kitchen table, cinder block walls in your garage, or even a lot of the glazed pottery you may have in your living room.
The thing to keep in mind is that radon, like radiation, is all around us. Half the background radiation an average American gets every year comes from radon, which comes from the earth. The rest comes from the sun, food, medicine and other products. But this only becomes a health risk if our exposure is concentrated and prolonged – and that’s the part of the story that’s been missing.
If you’re concerned about radon in your home, the solution to radon is as simple as 1-2-3: It is very easy to get your home tested for radon concentrations. Several national companies, including AirChek, Inc. (www.radon.com), offer reliable test kits at low cost. Also, several specialists operate in cities across the country, who are able to check your home. Just make sure they follow EPA guidelines for testing, which require monitors to take readings over several days – even weeks, depending on the type of monitor. Do not allow anyone to tell you that a Geiger counter reading is a reliable measure of radon. If you opt to buy your own electronic monitor, the EPA says:
- Install a radon detector in your home, following the manufacturer’s instructions
- Make sure to regularly change the battery and
- Ventilate your home if the detector finds radon at levels over 4 picocuries per liter.
Information from the Marble Institute