Following is the information I discovered while researching granite counter tops and VOC’s [Volatile Organic Compounds] related issues for a client. If you’re concerned, always verify the origination point of your granite slab to your satisfaction.
Does the EPA believe there is a danger of radon gas or associated radiation being emitted from granite counter tops?
Granite is a naturally occurring igneous rock, meaning that it was formed by the cooling of molten rock. It is quarried and processed to produce commercial products such as counter tops. It is possible for any granite sample to contain varying concentrations of uranium that can produce radon gas, a source of alpha and beta particles and gamma rays. Some granite used for counter tops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels. At this time, however, EPA does not believe sufficient data exist to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in counter tops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels. Some granite may emit gamma radiation above typical background levels. While radiation levels are not typically high, measurement of specific samples may reveal higher than expected levels on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on radiation and counter tops from EPA’s Radiation Protection Division – Click Here
What advice does the EPA have about radon for consumers who have granite countertops?
While natural rocks such as granite may emit radon gas, the levels of radon attributable to such sources are not typically high. EPA believes the principal source of radon in homes is soil gas that is drawn indoors through a natural suction process. To reduce radon risk you should first test the air in your home to determine the radon level. There are many home radon test kits available at the retail level and on-line, starting at about $25.
If your home has a high radon level, a level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air or more, there are ways to mitigate or reduce the radon level in almost any home. Contact your state radon office (www.epa.gov/iaq/whereyoulive.html) just click on your state, or a professional radon testing and mitigation firm (www.epa.gov/radon/radontest.html) for assistance. A specially-trained and qualified professional may be equipped to test for lesser sources (such as granite or diffusion from drinking water) when evaluating the nature and source of your home’s radon problem. The key to reducing risk is to test your home for radon and then make decisions as appropriate.
Learn more about radon, read the Citizen’s Guide at www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html.