Do granite countertops emit radon?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it's possible for granite to contain varying concentrations of uranium and other naturally occurring radioactive materials.
However, according to its website, the EPA currently believes that the existing data is insufficient to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops significantly increase indoor radon levels.
Dave Esslinger, owner of highly rated Granite By Design, a kitchen countertop installer in Indianapolis, agrees. "With the studies I've read, I don't think there's anything to be concerned about. The EPA has no reliable data that indicates the granite used in countertops significantly increases radon levels,"he says.
The EPA believes the principal source of radon from homes is from the soil in contact with basement floors and walls, and the agency recommends all homes be tested for radon. Home testing kits, available from retail stores or as a service provided by a radon mitigation company, can indicate how much radon your home is exposed to.
The EPA states further that if your home has a radon level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air or more, you should take steps to fix your home and reduce the radon level.
For homeowners who wish to avoid any possible exposure to radon emitted from granite countertops, Esslinger recommends synthetic stone countertop materials. "If they're a person who's really concerned, I'd recommend using the man-made or engineered stones," he says.
"The upside to the engineered stones is that unlike granite, you never have to reseal them. Natural granite will have to be resealed about every 15 years. The downside to engineered stone is that it looks man-made - it resembles a uniformly patterned granite."
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