Charlotte countertop expert discusses granite and radon
Who we talked to
Lance Taylor, owner
7010 Smith Corners Blvd., Ste. C
Lance Taylor became interested in the granite business 10 years ago after managing a construction company, and bought Aspen Tops in 2004. "I'm fascinated by natural stone and the beauty it adds to any project," says Taylor. "My favorite part is helping customers select the material. It's like selecting art."
Is there any danger in the possibility of granite countertops emitting radon?
"A study was released by The University of Akron in May. The study measured radon released by thirteen granite types. The stones they studied added only 7 percent - or less - of the amount of radon to the house. In our state, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) has committed resources to evaluating this subject and informing the public."
How could the radon emissions hurt homeowners and their families?
"Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found throughout the environment. Exposure to extreme amounts of radon over an extended period of time can cause cancer. But radon is present in virtually every home and it's released by hundreds of common household items including bananas, potatoes, nuts, smoke detectors, concrete blocks and televisions. It's also slowly released by glass, dirt and stones - including granite - as they break down over time."
Do you test granite for radon levels?
"With the help of Dr. Felix Fong, the chief of radon management for NCDENR, I've measured radiation released by granite slabs from twelve different quarries [that we use]. There wasn't a significant difference between the radiation released by the slabs I tested and the concrete floor we were standing on. Dr. Fong stressed that testing had limited value because the additive impact of radon emission from granite countertops is best measured with regard to the radon already present in a specific home environment."
What can a homeowner do if they're worried about radon emission levels?
"If a homeowner is worried about radon, I'd recommend they purchase a home radon test kit. If the tests indicate that radon levels exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's acceptable levels, a number of corrective actions can be taken to improve ventilation in the home, including installing vent fans. If they're building a home, consumers should discuss radon mitigation construction techniques and related building codes with their home builder."