How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

Do granite countertops emit radon?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

While some granite countertops have been found to emit trace amounts of radon, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that there isn’t enough evidence to indicate that they increase radon above the normal, existing level in a home, and we agree. Here’s what EPA has to say:

Granite’s durability and decorative appearance make it a popular building material in homes and buildings. The rock comes in a wide range of colors that vary with the elements in it. Granite, like any other rock, can contain naturally occurring radioactive elements like radiumuranium and thorium. Some pieces of granite contain more of these elements than others. If present, these radioactive elements will decay into radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas.

The radon gas may be released from the granite over time. However, since granite is generally not very porous, less radon is likely to escape from it than from a more porous stone such as sandstone.

It’s important to know that radon originating in the soil beneath homes is a more common problem and a far larger public health risk than radon from granite building materials. Also, any radon from granite countertops in kitchens or bathrooms is likely to be diluted in the typical home since those rooms are usually well ventilated.

In addition to radon, the other natural radioactive materials in the granite can emit radiation. However, it is extremely unlikely that granite countertops in homes could increase radiation doses above that the normal, natural background dose that comes from soil and rocks.

    For a more detailed analysis of the radon levels found in natural stone, we suggest clicking on the link below to download a white paper prepared by Environmental Health and Engineering for the Natural Stone Institute.

CountertopsRadon.pdf

   But the fact that stone countertops emit a negligible amount of radon does not mean that you don’t have a high radon level in your home caused by uranium and radium in the soil below your house. We recommend testing, and a home test kit is available at the big-box home improvement warehouses and most hardware stores for about $25.

    Also, see our blog posts What is the danger of radon in well water? and Will opening the windows reduce the radon level in a house?

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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “RADON":

 Is a radon mitigation fan required to be on a dedicated circuit breaker/fuse in the electric panel?

What happens to a radon test result if the windows were opened, the test device moved, or there was any other evidence of tampering during the test? 

Where do I find the Florida laws regarding radon?

Can I test vacant land for radon before building a house? 

Is radon mitigation possible for a condominium?

Do radon mitigation systems require maintenance?

What is the average life expectancy of a radon mitigation system?  

Do older houses have higher radon levels than new houses? 

Can the seller tamper with a homebuyer's radon test to change the results?

How long does it take to get the results of a radon test? 

Will opening the windows reduce the radon level in a house?

How was it determined that between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year are caused by radon?

Can a homebuyer do their own radon test for a real estate transaction with a self-test kit?

What is the danger of radon in well water?

What are the symptoms of radon poisoning? 

Does Florida have radon?

Where does radon come from? 

For how many years does an old radon test result remain valid?

Should homeowners get a pre-listing radon test before selling their home?

What are a homebuyer's options when the radon test comes back high (4.0 pico-curies/liter or more)? 

How can I tell if a house has a radon mitigation system? 

Can a mobile/manufactured home have a high radon problem?

Do I need to test for radon when buying a condominium? 

What does a radon mitigation contractor do to lower the radon level in a home?

How can not testing for radon be an expensive mistake for homebuyers? 

Will the radon test come back sky-high in a house that has been empty and closed-up for months? 

What is radon? Should I be concerned about it?

Should I buy a house with a high radon level? 

What is the average radon level of indoor and outdoor air in America?

What is the operating cost of a radon mitigation system? 

• Should I buy a house with a radon mitigation system?

• Does the buyer or seller of a home pay for radon mitigation when the radon test comes back high? 

• What is the probability of having high radon in a Florida house?

• How quickly do I need to reduce a high radon level in my house? 

Does a home inspector check for radon?

What are the problems with underground return air ducts? 

• What is the probability of having high radon in a Florida house?

• What factors can change radon test levels up or down?

    Visit our RADON page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.


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