Granite Countertops and Radon Risk

Posted on May 24, 2014 in Blog

The primary radon risks in homes come from soil, not granite countertops.

Granite CounterWith radon being the second leading cause of lung cancer in America, many people are understandably wary of the thought of having any product known to contain radon in their home. This has led some homeowners to even go so far as to tear out their granite countertops out of fear of radon contamination. Before you take this kind of drastic measure, you really should get professional radon testing to determine if your home has elevated radon levels or not. H2 Environmental can provide radon testing as part of our Indoor Air Quality assessment services.

Why Granite Countertops May Contain Radon

Radioactive elements such as radium, uranium, and thorium are abundant in the earth, especially deep underground. Like all rocks, granite may contain traces of these naturally occurring radioactive elements. When the radioactive elements decay, they turn into radon. Because granite is not a very porous rock, the amount of radon that can escape from it is typically miniscule. And because kitchens and bathrooms are typically well-ventilated, any radon that does escape from a granite countertop should be whisked away quickly. Scientific studies have not found radon contamination from the amount of granite used in the average home to pose a danger.

Where Radon Dangers Really Originate

Most radon contamination problems stem from gas leaking up through the soil beneath a home, passing through cracks and gaps in the foundation, and getting trapped inside. While every home will have some level of radon, the average home’s radon level of 1.3 picocuries per Liter is not considered dangerous. However, when levels rise to 4 picocuries per Liter or more, as occurs in 1 in 15 homes, the EPA recommends taking steps to reduce contamination.

Getting Radon Testing

Because radon is odorless and colorless, the only way to know if you have radon contamination is to get testing. While it is possible to test your granite countertop for radon, it is more affordable and more practical to simply test the air in your home for radon. If elevated levels are found, you will then need to take steps for radon mitigation with the help of a qualified contractor. H2 Environmental can not only provide your radon air testing for you, but also help interpret the results of the test for you and connect you with a qualified contractor to seal your foundation or provide other necessary services. As an expert environmental consulting company we have the connections and the experience needed to make sure your project gets done in a safe and effective manner.