Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

Radon in Granite Countertops: Don’t Worry.

April 12th, 2011 | 15 comments

Back in 2008 there was a media scare related to radon in granite countertops.  The scare went something like this: radon causes lung cancer.  Granite contains radon.  Therefore, granite causes lung cancer.  There was even an article published in the New York Times, where some guy was actually quoted as saying “It’s not that all granite is dangerous, but I’ve seen a few that might heat up your Cheerios a little.”

Granite Countertop

I figured this media scare would quickly be forgotten about, but it seems there is still some information floating around making people worried about granite, as I recently had a client ask me whether he should be worried about elevated radon levels in his new house because of the granite countertops.

I’m not worried about granite countertops. Not the slightest bit.  As for that New York Times article and the idea that some granite might heat up your Cheerios… I’m sorry, but that’s just absurd.  In the same article, another expert says you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than being at risk for cancer because of radon in granite.  Granite countertops may contain trace amounts of radon, but not enough to be of any consequence.  Being worried about granite is a little bit like being afraid of dirt. From everything I’ve read about this scare, I think it’s mostly a laughable smear compaign; the people saying granite countertops present a radon risk are largely the manufacturers of competing products.  Gee, imagine that.

If you want to learn more about this topic, read what the unbiased parties have to say.  Check out the EPA info on radon in granite, or read this Position Statement on Granite Countertops and Radon Gas from the Technical and Science Committee of the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST).  The bottom line, from both, is that you should have the radon levels in your home tested, whether you have granite countertops or not.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

15 responses to “Radon in Granite Countertops: Don’t Worry.”

  1. mandi
    April 13, 2011, 7:31 am

    Hi there,
    I enjoy reading your blog and hearing your opinions.
    People should learn to trust the experience of their home inspectors.

  2. Leah
    June 9, 2011, 8:46 pm

    What do you think about radon mitigation? I just bought a house and had the test done. It came out at 6 — the recommended safe level is 4.5. The guy said it wasn’t something too dangerous … Can I let it go? Or should I get a system?

  3. Reuben Saltzman
    June 10, 2011, 3:50 am

    Hi Leah,

    The EPA says anything above 4.0 is an unacceptably high level. Saying high radon levels aren’t a concern are like saying cigarette smoke isn’t a concern. They have both been proven to cause lung cancer. You should contact a radon mitigation contractor. Click this link to read a blog I wrote about the steps to take after a radon test.

  4. Vacant Houses Don't Have More Radon | Structure Tech Home Inspections
    July 12, 2011, 3:50 am

    [...] Myth: granite countertops have an effect on radon levels in a home. This myth gained popularity in 2008 because of a media scare.  You don’t need to worry about granite countertops.  They’re fine.  You can read more about this myth here – radon in granite. [...]

  5. Granite Counters MN
    January 25, 2012, 10:24 am

    Thanks for this post. It’s important that this is clarified, and that homeowners are told the truth. Granite counter tops present no danger to you, or your loved ones.

  6. Fact or fiction? Do Vacant Homes have more Radon? « Amy Kerber's Blog
    May 10, 2012, 6:18 pm

    [...] Myth: granite countertops have an effect on radon levels in a home. This myth gained popularity in 2008 because of a media scare.  You don’t need to worry about granite countertops.  They’re fine.  You can read more about this myth here – radon in granite. [...]

  7. granite
    September 5, 2012, 11:24 pm

    Nice blog and nice information.Thanks for sharing it.-

    granite countertop

  8. Yuli
    September 21, 2012, 10:31 am

    Wow, that came from a New York Times article? I would’ve expected better from them. To me, it’s similar to being afraid of being in front of the microwave because of radiation. It’s not a lot, so it isn’t harmful.

  9. Rod
    September 21, 2012, 11:18 am

    That’s crazy. Little amounts are nothing to be worried about, seriously.

  10. Rocky Horrors: Dammit, Granite! I Love You!!! » The Purpose Driven Mom
    November 17, 2012, 3:44 pm

    [...] found this guy who broke it down and linked to some non-partial parties and offered some mind easing solutions for [...]

  11. Rocky Horrors: Dammit, Granite! I Love You!!! | Dom and Lori
    November 17, 2012, 3:51 pm

    [...] found this guy who broke it down and linked to some non-partial parties and offered some mind easing solutions for [...]

  12. Kitchen Countertops
    January 4, 2013, 12:21 am

    Thanks a lot for the useful information Reuben, i read somewhere that radon causes lung cancer, but thanks to you that you have cleared my doubt.

  13. Reuben Saltzman
    January 4, 2013, 5:00 am

    Yes, radon causes lung cancer.

  14. Kitchen Countertops Long Island
    May 29, 2013, 2:41 am

    That homeowners are told the truth. Granite counter tops present no danger to you, or your loved ones.

  15. hmm
    July 26, 2013, 2:38 am

    LOL Cement and Concrete have the same as Granite counter tops.

    This worlds turning into complete land of sissys. Wow hey the net said!! the net says!! Reuben Slatzman says from the net..

    Enjoy life theres more Chemicals in out food today with GMOS three times a day everyday.. than a friggen countertop!

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