Natural granite’s beauty lies in its vast array of colors and patterns, created from the presence of elements and minerals in the rock.
Although granite countertops draw their beauty from the natural world, can they also contain naturally occurring radioactive elements?
Elements, such as uranium and radium, break down over time and emit radon gas.
This scientific reality has caused worry for some homeowners because granite is known to have elements inside.
That leaves many wondering if granite installation like countertops can compromise their families’ health and safety.
In the article below, we will look at radon and granite and see if there is cause for concern.
What Is Radon Gas?
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that is inert, colorless, and odorless.
Radon is naturally in the atmosphere in small amounts. Outside, radon disperses rapidly and isn’t a health issue.
Most dangerous radon exposure occurs indoors. The inside of homes, schools and workplaces can all contain dangerous levels of radon.
Radon gas can become trapped inside by entering through cracks and other holes in the building’s foundation.
Fortunately, indoor radon levels can be controlled and returned to normal using proven cost-effective techniques.
And radon exposure isn’t to be taken lightly because breathing elevated radon levels over time increases your risk of lung cancer.
In the United States, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in with about 21,000 people dying each year from radon-related lung cancer.
Is Radon Found In Granite Countertops?
Is the radon found in granite countertops, and if so, is it harmful?
This is an excellent question that all homeowners, builders, and contractors should ask.
Radon is in most soils, and as we mentioned earlier, there are extremely low levels of radon gas in the oxygen that we breathe.
Similar to other countertop materials, granite does contain veins of thorium and uranium that can break down into radon.
But granite isn’t alone. Various countertop materials have traces of naturally occurring radioactive elements.
The concentrations of the radioactive elements vary from stone to stone.
Can Granite Countertops Emit Radon?
Thorium, radium, or uranium will decay into radon.
Radon gas can be released from the granite stone throughout its lifetime. However, the radon is diluted through ventilation over time.
It is possible for naturally occurring radioactive elements found in granite to emit gamma and beta radiation in small quantities.
The radiation that is present in the stone will decrease faster as it distances itself from the source.
The radiation coming from your granite kitchen counters isn’t likely to increase the radiation doses above safe levels.
Identify The Levels Of Radiation In Granite Countertops
It’s possible to identify the levels, presence, and concentration of radon in your granite countertops.
You will need to use specific instruments, and the instruments will require proper calibration & knowledge.
That’s why it’s best to ask a professional mitigation company about testing for levels of radon.
The radon that originates in the soil underneath your home is a much more significant problem that is much more likely to put your health at risk.
Can Radon In Granite Countertops Be Harmful?
Granite isn’t very porous, and most people don’t use a large amount of it in their homes.
It’s improbable for radon to escape in large enough quantities to cause problems.
Kitchens and bathrooms that have granite are typically well ventilated, lowering the risk of radon.
According to the National Radon Program Services at KSU, the amounts of radon found that can be found in granite countertops are minuscule.
The paint in your home may be more harmful due to the low-VOC compounds.
Most granite countertops will indeed have radon in them, but the concentrations are so small that there is no need to worry.
Protect Your Family From The Dangers Of Radon
Although there is radon in granite counters, it is highly unlikely that it will do any damage.
So if you’ve been dreaming of new granite countertops, go ahead and pull the trigger.
But, there is still a chance your house may have elevated radon levels, and there is no way of knowing unless your home is tested.
And just because your neighbor’s home tested negative, don’t assume yours will as well.