Some Information About Granite Countertops and Radiation

Did you know that granite countertops can be a source of natural radiation? Believe it or not, it’s true. But before you start making plans to rip out every counter in your home, there’s no need for you to worry. Although granite countertops can include some radioactive elements, they’re usually too weak to create any real harm.

Custom Design Solutions

Radiation is everywhere

There’s no way to completely avoid radiation on Earth. Background radiation is always present in the soil, minerals, manmade elements and even the human body. Luckily, radiation isn’t always harmful—and radiation levels change depending on the location.

Cosmic radiation is another source. The sun and stars give off energetic particles, which can enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The higher your altitude, the more radiation exposure you’ll receive. Someone living at sea level will experience less radiation than someone in, say, Denver.

Food, soil, medical x-rays and minerals in the ground are our main sources of daily radiation. At these extremely small doses, radiation is not considered harmful.

Radiation in your granite countertops

Uranium, thorium and other products of radioactive decay may be found in granite. As you may know, granite is an incredibly durable igneous rock that often has veins of other materials running through it. If your granite countertop contains any veins of radioactive material, there may be some radiation emitted from your countertop.

Over time, radioactive materials decay into a colorless, odorless gas called radon. (If you’ve ever gotten your home tested for radon, you may be familiar with the concept.) Radon may emerge from your countertops, but the minute amount should be diluted by your home’s ventilation. This renders it harmless—it’s extremely unlikely that your countertops would ever emit enough radiation to elevate levels beyond those of everyday background radiation.

You might be tempted to test your granite countertops for radiation. This requires sophisticated (and expensive) equipment used by a trained professional. If you’re concerned about radiation, you’d be better off testing your home for radon instead.

Home radon testing

Radon gas can emerge from the soil underneath your home and seep into the house. This colorless, odorless gas is known to cause lung cancer—and it’s a much more likely occurrence than your granite countertops making you sick.

If you’re concerned about radon in your home, you can have the air tested. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that all homes be tested for radon periodically. Home kits are available for purchase, or you can hire a radon testing professional.

When higher levels of radon are detected in your home, the solution is usually to install a device that sucks the radon out of the air. There’s no need to remove your granite countertops.

Safely enjoy your granite countertops

Now that you know you can safely enjoy granite countertops in your home without taking on a heightened risk of radiation, which type will you choose? Superior Surface offers a variety of high-quality solid surface countertops for every style and budget. Call us today to learn more about our selection and get a quote.