Do Granite Countertops Emit Radon Gas?

Rumors have been circulating recently that granite — the popular kitchen countertop material — emits radon gas. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas created from the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. It is radioactive and at high concentrations with prolonged exposure, has been linked to lung cancer. The principal source of radon in homes is soil gas that is drawn indoors through a natural suction process.But recent reports have stated that radon can be emitted in your kitchen or bathroom from granite, a naturally occurring igneous rock formed by the cooling of molten rock. Granite contains varying concentrations of uranium that can produce radon gas. However,the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not believe sufficient data exists to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels. The EPA recommends that indoor air have a radon level as far below 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air as possible. The Natural Stone Council, a trade group, quotes a University of Akron (Ohio) professor of geology and civil engineering as saying, “Based on the testing results and EPA standards, we can conclude that the most popular granites used as countertop surfaces pose no health threat to homeowners.” The EPA advises people to test their homes for radon as a general precaution.

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