Have you heard the one about a granite “Three-Mile Kitchen Island” emitting radioactive gasses and causing lung cancer in millions of households? So have we.
Oh, how the media love to stir up drama and create a panic. Granite countertops are so popular that any story about granite and unhealthy gas emissions is bound to garner plenty of attention and whip the public into frenzy. We’ve heard this urban legend before. And every now and then, it resurfaces. These alarmist reports have been discounted again and again by the US Environmental Protection Agency who says “While natural minerals, such as granite, may occasionally emit radon gas, the levels of radon attributable to such sources is not typically high”.
We at MCM Natural Stone are happy to sort out the facts and put your mind at ease. The bottom line…it’s just not true.
Scientists have spent years studying the facts behind this recurring rumor only to consistently prove that granite countertops are perfectly safe when properly installed in your home. The Marble Institute of America has poured countless resources into studying this topic, all resulting in the same conclusion: granite countertops are safe. Scientists have proven that granite countertops do NOT significantly contribute to radon concentration in a home.
So, what exactly is Radon? It’s a naturally occurring radioactive gas that’s found all around us. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the biggest source of radon is the soil surrounding a home, and some types of stone found beneath it. Most radon dissipates into the atmosphere. But sometimes, it can enter a home’s basement. Prolonged exposure could be dangerous, but any radon problems in a home can be easily fixed by installing radon venting equipment.
Maybe manufacturers of synthetic stone countertops are to blame for regularly resurrecting this rumor. Whatever the case, the truth is that there are other things found in the home that can emit radiation too, like for example, concrete blocks, cinder blocks, bricks, smoke detectors, televisions, and even bananas and potatoes. But relax, there is no need to stop eating fruits and vegetables. They emit no more radiation than granite kitchen countertops.
Some granite countertops have been found to give off trace amounts of radon. After all, granite is mined from the earth, where radium and naturally occurring radioactive materials are not uncommon. And certain regions of the world have higher levels of radioactivity than others. But study after study of hundreds of different types of granite countertops has consistently shown that they are not a significant source of radiation in the home. Researchers have yet to find any installations or situations that pose significant radon or radiation risks.
Of course, we don’t take this topic lightly. Lung cancer claims thousands of lives each year. Radon testing in the home is generally a good idea even if you have laminate countertops. We recommend picking up a home testing kit for about $25. If you see high levels of radon present, call in a specialist. If you have any questions about radon and your granite countertops, don’t hesitate to call us at (585) 586-6510.