Granite Countertops and Testing

On October 24, we featured a segment discussing granite countertops and the potential for these countertops to emit radon gas.  In that segment, we inadvertently attributed the following statement to the EPA:  “The EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] says some types of granite countertops could be as bad as smoking a half a pack of cigarettes a day.”  The EPA did not make this statement regarding the health risks of granite countertops.

We want to take this opportunity to further clarify the information presented in this segment.  
The EPA suggests that all homes be tested for radon, which can be emitted from both internal and external sources.  According to the EPA website, a radon level of 4 pCi/L or higher should immediately be addressed as it poses a health risk:
“EPA's action level of 4 pCi/L, a smoker's risk of lung cancer is about five times the risk of dying in an auto accident, and if you've never smoked equal to the risk of dying in an auto accident.”
According to the Environmental Compliance Handbook (Jacob I. Bregman and Robert D. Bell), a person exposed to radon levels measured at 4 pCi/L  or higher has the same risk of  developing lung cancer as a person who smokes five cigarettes per day.
While the EPA has stated that the greater health risk comes from radon emitted from the soil surrounding homes than from granite building materials, it “strongly recommends” that all homes be tested for radon emissions from any source.  For additional information about granite and radon, please visit the following websites:
Marble Institute of America

KEYWORDS: granite, countertops, radon, radiation, radioactive, cancer