Does Boulder Real Estate Have Radon In Granite Counters?
I don’t know if you’re concerned about radon, or if you have concern about issues in New York, but a recent Sunday New York Times article was forwarded to me from a friend in Seattle last week that you might find interesting. It outlines some surprising accounts of Radon Gas emissions coming from Granite Counters in a Lake George, N.Y. home.
A woman from Teaneck, N.J., planning on purchasing the home did a very common thing, and had a radon gas test performed during a typical home inspection. What’s not clear from the story is why she didn’t have the inspection done prior to purchasing the home. The test, as far as I can determine, was done after the buyer completed the purchase and moved into the home.
Since radon levels tested higher than she liked, she went a step further and called a radon measurement and mitigation firm to find the source of the invisible, odorless gas.
Using a Geiger counter, which measures levels of radiation, to determine that the granite counters were a very high source of radiation in the home (at ten times the levels in other parts of the home). As it turns out, the this homeowner had the counters removed and sent to a lab for testing. The test results reportedly showed that the counters contained high amounts of uranium. Uranium is radioactive and it releases radon gas as it decays, according to the article.
Before you get overly concerned, you should know that there are many things in your home right now that may be emitting radiation. I was in a recent training where the instructor at our CERT class used a Geiger counter to show us all sorts of things in the typical home that have radiation.
I do think though that you need to choose carefully what the source of your granite might be if you think you still want to use it as a countertop in your home. Granite is available from over 60 countries in over 900 varieties. The granite that’s showing up as having higher levels of radiation and radon emissions is typically coming from Namibia and Brazil.
This might be another great reason to move over to man-made products such as quartz-based counter solutions. The quartz products are reported to be more durable, more resistant to stains and heat, and also require less or no maintenance. We used a quartz product from silestone in the Water Street condo I listed and sold last year in downtown Boulder. I’m thinking of installing quartz in my home sometime next year.
Even though allegations that granite counters may emit unacceptable levels of radon and radiation have come up occasionally over the last ten years or so, the Marble Institute of America says these claims are “ludicrous”. They claim that the amounts of the objectionable material isn’t enough to substantiate a health risk. I wonder if that’s the same as the tobacco company executives refusing to acknowledge the risks of smoking cigarettes?