Granite: Another thing to worry about?


Maybe the “luxury” of granite countertops isn’t worth it anymore?

Or this just a “scare tactic” to help competing vendors or those in the field of radiation detection?


Today’s NY Times mentions:

“The Environmental Protection Agency has been receiving calls from radon inspectors as well as from concerned homeowners about granite countertops with radiation measurements several times above background levels. “We’ve been hearing from people all over the country concerned about high readings”

I can only imagine the possibilities. Like at the liquor store: “I’d like a nice red that goes with Radon”

Additionally, “The E.P.A. recommends taking action if radon gas levels in the home exceeds 4 picocuries per liter of air (a measure of radioactive emission); about the same risk for cancer as smoking a half a pack of cigarettes per day.

I wonder if home radon test kit sales will increase the local Home Depot?

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21 Comments on "Granite: Another thing to worry about?"

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Silvia Osante
Silvia Osante

We understand why homeowners would be alarmed by this story, but the Marble Institute of America would like to assure people that research shows granite countertops pose no threat.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Reports and repeated independent studies have shown granite countertops pose no health hazard.

-EPA stated Friday: “EPA has no reliable data to conclude that types of granite used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels.” (

-University of Akron researchers found no threat. (

An independent scientific analysis of a variety of studies shows that, accounting for normal airflow in the typical home, radon contributed by granite countertops ranges from 0.01 – 0.02 pCi/L – levels that are 200 to 400 times lower than the EPA guideline of 4 pCi/L.

-By some measures, the amount of radon emitted by a granite countertop is less than one millionth of that already present in household air from other sources. Many granite countertops do not emit radon at all, and those treated with sealant reduce emissions even further.

Silvia Osante
Cohn & Wolfe on behalf of The Marble Institute of America

When marketing a product, one expects a bit of hype. The idea is to show that the product is the best over the competitor’s line of product. That is the trade of advertisers and the history of marketing. Some tactics used to sell can be humorous or as serious as the competition between manufacturers. Marketing tactics that play on fears of the general public can be a very powerful tool. In the present day, there’s a very popular angle of “green.” This is prevalent everywhere in the media. So what happens when you mix a scare tactic under the guise of environmental concern? Buildclean found the answer to that question. The premise seems of the nonprofit organization seems to be admirable but the fact that the “awareness campaign” that Buildclean is currently using seems to be curiously slanted. In fact, the target seems to be the natural stone industry. When Sara Selber of BuildClean was asked how she got involved in natural stone and radon, she explained how she was approached by the owner of C&C North America, a company that produces two products – granite and a quartz product called Silestone®™. “C&C North America then recruited a quartz company called Cambria, after they learned quartz was an issue, she further explained that the two companies hired her to test quartz, granite and other surfaces for radon emission. Both companies are testing their products through BuildClean, and they contracted two labs – one in New York and one in Israel.… Read more »

Last night on CBS news they had a segment that picked up on that Times story on granite.

A guy measured someone’s countertop and said it was OK.

Then he went to the new reporter Kirstin Cole home and it was off the scale – the equivalent of smoking 10 packs a day.

The reporter said that she and her daughter ate breakfast at that counter every morning.

Next up – granite panic! 🙂


rag246—Lower price than what it would have gotten when the market was hot?–well, duh! That’s not the point. We’re not planning to sell anytime soon and when the time comes we will price the place properly. The point is that these days buyers expect everything to be updated unless you sell your place as a “fixer”.


[quote comment=”95325″]what about cell phones causing cancer? Will people stop using cell phones. Let’s go after the cell phone companies. That’s where the $$$$ is.[/quote]

You joke but THAT is the eventual ‘asbestos.’ You wait and see. Articles are cropping up in magazines and newspapers about that topic again. Why? Something is up.