Any type of natural stone may contain trace amounts of naturally occurring radioactive minerals (NORMS). Some pieces of stone may contain more of these NORMS than others depending on the composition of the molten rock from which the stone was formed. Since granite is a natural stone that is mined from the earth, it may naturally contain radioactive elements, like radium. Radium is an earth metal that can decay and emit radon, an odorless, colorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. Ultimately, we know that your granite countertops may contain trace amounts of radium, but is it a myth or fact: are your granite counters radioactive?
The possibility of granite countertops being radioactive has been highly magnified by the media over the past decade. We’ve filtered through all the hype and headed straight to a reliable source who has recently commissioned two new studies on the relationship between granite and radiation. The Marble Institute of America is the leading source for information on the suitable applications of natural stone and the standards of workmanship and practice in the natural stone industry. Their recent studies measured both the radiation exposure of workers during granite fabrication and the radon exposure in granite quarries. The results from the studies confirm the truth about the radioactivity and safety of granite countertops.
Granite fabrication process, courtesy of The Marble Institute of America
So, are your granite countertops radioactive? This is a myth. Granite countertops do not emit a significant amount of radiation, and they are not considered dangerous. Radiation doses due to granite fabrication are very low. In fact, they’re well below the limits to the general public and occupational standards. The Marble Institute of America is also in the process of perfecting radon testing methods for granite countertops should you want to put yours to the test.
Now that you know granite countertops are safe, consider adding them to your home! If you’re planning to redesign your kitchen, contact us! Our knowledgeable and skilled craftsmen can work with you to explore our variety of kitchen options and design a plan for your home and your budget. We would love to work with you!