Surface Encounters manager, Sal Dellacasa, has read reports of granite countertops emitting radioactivity. Customers who visit the Surface Encounters show room have indicated concern. Surface Encounters would like to put consumers at ease regarding radon exposure from granite countertops.
Many consumers have read the reports claiming that even though most granite countertops tested were safe, some have had “hot-spots” that emit life threatening levels of radon. There are even read reports that claim certain colors of granite are more of a threat than others. One report indicated higher levels in exotic granite and recommends that anyone who is concerned should have their granite countertop tested.
Radon Exposure from Granite Countertops: Real or a Myth?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It is formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater. When radon escapes from the ground into the outdoor air, it is diluted to low concentrations and is not a concern; however, in an enclosed space it can accumulate to high levels and break down to form additional radioactive particles called progeny that can contaminate the air you breathe.
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and it does pose a serious health risk. Most experts agree that there really is no “safe” level of radon and that all radiation has the potential to damage DNA within cells. A lifetime exposure to low levels can lead to cancer.
Granite countertops have been a very popular addition to homes since the 1990’s. If any reputable studies showed that they were a serious health threat, then they would have either been outlawed by now or necessary steps would be taken to cure the problem.
Some of the reports that have been printed were later proven to be marketing scams by companies who sell synthetic products rather than natural stone. The hype and panic caused by this competitive marketing has proven to be more harmful than the threat they are claiming against granite being used in homes.
According to the EPA, “There is radiation all around us and we need to be aware of the various sources--when to be concerned and how to protect ourselves from harmful exposure. Radiation has been part of the earth since the beginning of time. Construction materials such as concrete, cinder blocks, bricks, and granite contain small amounts of radioactive materials that are found naturally in the materials used to make them.” These quotes were taken from the web page at http://www.epa.gov/radiation/sources/index.html#construction
Though there have been many reports to generate concern, studies have failed to produce evidence that granite countertops pose a significant health risk. The EPA believes that the main source of radon in homes is soil gas that is drawn indoors through a natural suction process. The EPA has no reliable data to conclude that natural stone countertops are increasing indoor radon levels.
So, rest assured that your new granite countertop is perfectly safe. Surface Encounters is proud to improve your world, one surface at a time.
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