Granite counters emitting toxic RADON, Urban myth or true story here is one story....

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Apex California Realty

There has been a lot of press lately on the potentially harmful effects of having granite counter tops. What is true and what is an urban legend? Well for one...the New York Times has an interesting article about this topic.

Now the New York Times is a highly reputable paper and printing rubbish is not there style so when I read this article on RADON and Granite Counter Tops....well I perked up!

It seems that indeed some and I use the word some counters that are granite do indeed emit some RADON.

There are thousands of different types of granite used in the making of custom counter tops so labeling all granite as toxic is simply not fair.

Just consider though for a minute the negative effect of having elevated amounts of RADON in your home!

Radon is a radio active gas that is one of the causes of cancer! It is a gas that is neither smelt or seen so it is a stealth and silent killer....

Now fast forward and take the millions of people out there that indeed have Granite counter take even the small percentage that have the type of granite that emits radon...multiple this out and it may be a culprit at least in "Some" of the cancer cases.

Am I saying run out and take out your granite counter tops!! NO.... I am saying be AWARE...that's all....if you or someone in your family has had some health issues that can not be reasoned out or explained AND you have granite counters...well have them checked out....that's all!

By the way there are some VERY nice attractive alternative to granite for those that do want a change...Its called BAMBOO. Don't knock bamboo until you see's amazing! And it is a natural eco friendly toxic gases!



Rick Goates

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Richard Goates


Eco Broker



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Jason Rose
123 ConEd LLC -- Michigan real estate continuing education - Farmington Hills, MI

Great posting, Richard. You provided some very good information on an important issue and raised a good question about whether it is fact or a myth.  From what I understand, it is a fact and not a myth.

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.

While natural rocks such as granite may emit radon gas, the EPA believes that the levels of radon attributable to such sources are not typically high. According to the EPA, the principal source of radon in homes is soil gas that is drawn indoors through a natural suction process. At this time, the EPA does not believe sufficient data exists to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels.

Most people do not know this, but radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and is believed to be responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths per year.

I'm writing from Michigan. According to the CDC, more than 600 radon-related deaths are projected to occur in Michigan this year alone. According to the EPA, one in eight homes in Michigan is expected to have an elevated indoor radon level, and in some counties more than 40% of the homes are expected to have a problem. The only way to know if YOUR home has a problem is to test.

If you are a real estate professional, radon and indoor air is something you should know about. It is a serious health risk, but there are simple and inexpensive ways to test for it and fix it if necessary. Like any health risk today, it is something that more and more people know about either through a home sale or through the media.

Radon is such an important issue for real estate professionals that I'm in the process of preparing a continuing education course exclusively on radon for my online continuing education school. The course will inform Michigan real estate professionals all about radon and what they need to know in order to properly advise buyers and sellers.

Feb 20, 2009 03:46 AM #1
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