Monday, June 8, 2009

Granite And Health : An Analysis

With the growth of demand of granites in the last few years, granite countertops have earned popularity. In the recent years, there is a buzz about granite countertops posing a great threat to health. In this article let us examine how much truth is there in this fact …

It is said that granite countertops in home should be tested because it gives off some amount of radon gas which is injurious to health. Radon is a natural radioactive gas that causes cancer. This gas cannot be tasted or smelled. Radon causes lung cancer among non-smokers and it claims about 20,000 lives yearly. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, its presence in home poses a threat to the health of the family members.

EPA says that 4 pCi/L is the exposure level of radon that needs someone to take serious actions. The agency is of the opinion that levels lower than this also poses a risk in many instances . The New York Times reported that the allegations regarding granite countertops emitting dangerous levels of radon has been raised by the distributors and makers of competing countertop materials.

It is said that in a recent experiment it was shown that a chunk of granite countertop emitted more than the background levels. This can be improved in lower levels by exchanging air with systems which bring in fresh air and thus exchange it with air in kitchen. What troubles the most are the granite countertop colors. Some are of the opinion that the colors like pinks, reds and purples are more potentially troublesome in comparison to others.

However, the manufacturers of marble are of opinion that radiation in granite is not at all dangerous. According to the Marble Institute of America, such claims are absurd. It is true that granite contains uranium and many other radioactive elements like potassium and thorium. But the amounts of radon emitted by the countertops are not sufficient to be labeled as heath threat.

In fact, radiation experts and health physicians agree that granite countertops pass off radon and radiation at very low levels. These emissions are compared significantly with background radiation which is pouring down constantly from outer space oozing from the crust of the earth. However, the EPA has been getting calls from the radon inspectors and concerned home owners about granite countertops having radiation measurements many times above the so-called background levels.

However, if you have doubt regarding your home’s granite countertop and want to know about the radon and radiation levels from it, it is best to test them. There are many types of low cost do it yourself kits of radon test available in market. You can get them through retail outlets or any hardware store. If you want to buy or sell a home, the first thing you can do is to appoint a qualified tester to do the testing for you. First contact state radon office for getting a list of the qualified testers. If you want, you can also get in touch with a private radon proficiency program for obtaining the lists of radon professionals serving the area. In fact many people have already conducted these tests and it has been proved beyond doubt that radon emitted by granite countertops are not a health threat at all!

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