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07-26-2008, 04:01 PM #1
EPA: Radon From Granite Countertops Is NOT Significant
Straight from the EPA's web site: (bold by me)
What advice does the EPA have for consumers who have granite countertops?
While natural minerals such as granite may occasionally emit radon gas, the levels of radon attributable to such sources are not typically high. EPA believes the principal source of radon in homes is soil gas that is drawn indoors through a natural suction process. To reduce radon risk you should first test the air in your home to determine the radon level. There are many home radon test kits available at the retail level and on-line, starting at about $25.
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Are the levels of radon in granite dangerous to humans or animals?
While radon levels attributable to granite are not typically high, there are simply too many variables to generalize about the potential health risks inside a particular home that has granite countertops. It is prudent to limit your family's exposure to radon whenever possible. EPA recommends that indoor air have a radon level as far below 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air as possible. There are easy ways to test the air in your home for radon, and high radon levels can be reduced with proven and inexpensive technology. EPA believes the most significant source of radon risk is soil gas. Regardless of source, all homes should be tested for radon.
Does the EPA believe that there's radon in granite countertops?
Granite is a natural mineral formed by earth's geology. It is mined and used to produce commercial products such as countertops. It is possible for any granite sample to contain varying concentrations of uranium that can produce radon gas. Some granite used in countertops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels. However, EPA has no reliable data to conclude that types of granite used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels.
Has EPA done studies on radon in granite countertops?
EPA is aware of a few studies that have conducted limited research on radon in granite countertops. EPA will continue to review this research. The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend that all homes be tested for radon in indoor air. It's easy and inexpensive to test homes with do-it-yourself radon test kits that are commonly available at the retail level and on-line.
Does the EPA have plans to conduct a study on radon in granite countertops?
EPA will continue to monitor and analyze the evolving research on this issue and will update its recommendations as appropriate.
As reported in the media:
EPA Confirms That Granite Countertops Pose No Significant Health Risk, Undercutting 'Junk Science' Fear Mongering, Says Marble Institute of America
CLEVELAND, July 25, 2008
New U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) statements reaffirm that granite countertops pose no significant health risk, discounting recent alarmist reports about the safety of granite countertops, said the Marble Institute of America, the nation's leading natural stone association.
The EPA issued its new statements late Friday, following media reports citing junk science and inconsistent testing results that created public concern about granite countertops as a source of radon gas.
"While natural minerals such as granite may occasionally emit radon gas, the levels of radon attributable to such sources are not typically high," the EPA statement said. "EPA believes the principal source of radon in homes is soil gas that is drawn indoors through a natural suction process.
"Granite is a natural mineral formed by earth's geology," the statement continues. "It is mined and used to produce commercial products such as countertops. It is possible for any granite sample to contain varying concentrations of uranium that can produce radon gas. Some granite used in countertops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels. However, EPA has no reliable data to conclude that types of granite used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels."
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The EPA also issued a new statement on the presence of radiation in granite, which said: "Construction materials such as concrete, cinder blocks, bricks, and granite contain small amounts of radioactive materials that are found naturally in the materials used to make them."
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Citing recent studies by university scientists and Consumer Reports, Jim Hogan, president of the MIA, said the new EPA statement confirms findings that have consistently shown granite countertops pose no health risk in the home.
"Every time researchers have applied rigorous scientific standards to testing, the results have found that granite countertops pose no risk," Hogan said. "Repeated studies have found that granite is safe. Unfortunately, some recent junk science being reported as fact only serves to panic the public, not inform it. Our goal is to end this fear mongering by facilitating the creation of a real scientific standard for testing granite countertops."
Two recent studies by researchers at the University of Akron and Consumer Reports found no grounds to fear granite countertops.
Consumer Reports, America's foremost consumer protection institute, recently conducted its own limited independent tests of granite countertops and found no evidence that granite countertops pose a health risk. In fact, none of the granite countertops tested by Consumer Reports were found to be emitting radon.
According to Consumer Reports, similar findings were recently generated by other well-conducted studies of granite countertops, and those studies found that, of a large number of countertops tested, only a few samples emitted minute levels of radon.
Dr. L.L. Chyi, who conducted the Akron study, said, "Radon in countertops is not an issue."
To eliminate confusion resulting from junk science or inconsistent testing, the MIA is working with scientists and other experts to establish universal standards for testing granite countertops for radon emissions. The goal is to build a scientific consensus around testing protocols so that all research can be done.
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