Portland granite expert discusses radon concerns

Portland granite expert discusses radon concerns

Recent news stories have fueled debate about radon in granite, so we asked highly rated countertop installer Aaron Crowley to talk about it. At levels exceeding 4 picocuries per liter, radon can be deadly and is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency believes all homes should be tested for radon, although they don't believe sufficient data exists to conclude granite countertops pose a health risk.

Is there any danger in the possibility of granite countertops emitting radon?
"Is there radon in granite? Yes. There's also radon in the foundation of your home, in the tile floors, or in the porcelain of a toilet seat. The question isn't so much is radon emitted from granite, but is there enough [emitted] for it to be a concern? It's become such a prevalent issue in the last six months or so that research is growing. Nobody knows everything - you can only look at the research that's been done and is being done. I'm not a scientist - I have a vested interest. We can look to unbiased sources to see what they say. Even when I first heard of it, I was a little suspicious and skeptical. If I'd seen 50 percent of my business disappear, I'd worry. It's a subject of about half the articles in every stone publication - it's a controversy because we've had people ask about it. As the debate has played itself out, evidence has begun growing that it's not really an issue.

Do you test the granite for radon levels?
"We don't. We've had some discussions and even begun to look into testing equipment and see if it's something we need to do from a safety standpoint. When the issue first came up, our first reaction was that we need to do whatever we can."

What can a homeowner do if they're worried about radon emission levels?
"We've yet to have any [customers] ask about testing, but as I understand, there are kits you can buy to do a test yourself at home. In the last six months, I'd say [the issue] has been noticeable because we've had just a couple of people ask about it, but I don't think it's affected our business. As far as I know, we haven't had anyone choose not to use granite because of this concern."


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