Some granite emits enough radon to increase the radon concentration in a kitchen. The radon in Cathy Woods’ kitchen was three times as high as the radon in her bedroom. That lung cancer risk at that level was nearly as high as smoking 10 cigarettes a day.
A Silicon Valley real estate agent told her clients, “There is no radon in California. You don’t need to worry about it.” The couple purchased a home in Sunnyvale, CA, which has some of the higher radon levels in Santa Clara County. Another home in Sunnyvale had 29 picoCuries/liter (pCi/L), more than 8 times the EPA action level (4 pCi/L). A home in Los Gatos had 56 pCi/L, which is 14 times the action level.
A homeowner in Menlo Park, CA recently discovered that his home had 14 picoCuries/liter of radon, three times the EPA action level of 4 picoCuries/liter (pCI/L). He tested his home for radon because he was concerned about his new granite counters. However, his granite was not the source of the radon. He had “geologic” radon coming from the soil beneath his house.
Cathy Woods’ new granite counters were radioactive. They contained as much uranium as commercial uranium ore. The showroom that sold Cathy her Jupurana Bordeaux granite did not warn her that some granite is radioactive. When I contacted the salesman, posing as a customer, he assured me their granite “is no more radioactive than soil or water”. However, Cathy’s granite emitted gamma radiation at many times background. The radon gas emitted by the stone tripled the radon concentration in her kitchen.
This post is a follow-up to The Fight Over Radon in Granite Countertops Heats Up, which will provide some background information on the granite/radon issue. With the legion of both deniers and alarmists out there attempting to monopolize the discussion over the safety of granite countertops, it is difficult to find unbiased information. Peruse the…