Alpha Home Services responds to the New York Times article on radon in granite countertops

Over the past years, the popularity of beautiful granite counter tops in homes has increased. The natural one-of-kind look granite brings to our kitchens and baths are a desirable feature in homes. While the popularity of granite countertops has increased, so have questions, concerns and controversy over the safety of granite countertops. Alpha Home Services is aligned with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Safety Council in its stance on the issue.

Granite is a naturally occurring igneous rock, meaning that it was formed by the cooling of molten rock.  It is quarried and processed to produce commercial products such as countertops. It is possible for any granite sample to contain varying concentrations of uranium that can produce radon gas, a source of alpha and beta particles and gamma rays. Some granite used for countertops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels.  At this time, however, EPA does not believe sufficient data exist to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels. Some granite may emit gamma radiation above typical background levels.  While radiation levels are not typically high, measurement of specific samples may reveal higher than expected levels on a case-by-case basis.

While natural rocks such as granite may emit radon gas, the levels of radon attributable to such sources are not typically high. EPA believes the principal source of radon in homes is soil gas that is drawn indoors through a natural suction process. To reduce radon risk you should first test the air in your home to determine the radon level.   

Radon gas can be emitted from trace amounts of uranium found in other materials used in constructions – for example: concrete, brick, granite and drywall. These materials have the potential to produce radon however, they are rarely the main cause of an elevated radon level in a building.

The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test your home. Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes. Alpha Home Services supports testing for radon in all homes for health, safety, and peace of mind.

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