Granite – It has been a favorite for home countertops and flooring for centuries, gracing homes of the elite as well as the average homeowner with its beauty and elegance. However, in more recent years there have been rumors and allegations that this gorgeous stone could also be harmful to one’s health.
The Rumor: Granite emits Radon. This was determined based on the science that granite countertops contain radium, a radioactive gas that can cause cancer.
The Reality: While it is true that granite contains radium, it does not contain enough of the chemical to cause health issues. The reports that lead to the radiation and granite concerns were due to a story about a Three-Mile Kitchen Island. However, it should be noted that all natural products, especially sand, minerals and stone contain measurable trace amounts of some radioactive elements. The list of products this affects includes all concrete products, clay bricks, most non-plastic plates and dishes, eye glasses, mirrors, phosphate fertilizers used for gardening, the soil (even non-fertilized) itself and literally thousands of other items.
However, the keywords in the statement above are “trace” and “measurable”. Every day people use items that contain the trace amounts of radon. The comparison has been made that if the amount of radon in a granite countertop were represented by a single lit birthday candle that while there would be heat emitted from the candle it would not be enough to warm the entire room. Sure, you can feel the heat of the candle, but that lit candle is not going to lower your energy costs!
Yes, granite has some trace amounts of radon. This is because it is mined from the earth, where radium and other naturally occurring radioactive materials are not uncommon. According to the EPA, the safety limit for radon emissions is 4 picocuries per liter of air. But, the EPA also points out that granite has a lower risk of producing radon than other natural stones, due to the fact that granite is a non-porous material so only miniscule amounts of radon can be emitted. In addition, because most homes are well ventilated, any radon that may be released into the air is typically diluted.
The Response: If you are concerned about possible radon emissions in your home, you can test for it by purchasing an activated charcoal surface test. These can be found on many websites as well as at hardware stores and other retail outlets. You will not find a radon testing kit designed specifically for radiation in granite countertops, but these basic kits will provide peace of mind, should you be concerned. But keep in mind, the EPA has no real proof that granite countertops increase indoor radon levels.
Granite countertops have been used in homes and office for years, they are beautiful, elegant and long-lasting making them a great choice for any decorating style. If you would like to learn more about how granite countertops can be used in your space, give Northstar Granite Tops a call. We would love to help you choose the granite for your next design project.
Contact us today by calling 320-963-8677 or contact us online.