Granite Counter Tops Emitting Radon

My wife is a realtor & came home last night & said (don’t remember where she heard it) that the ever so popular granite counter tops were reported to be emmitting Radon…:shock: :shock: :shock:

Check this link out

Thanx Troy, gee what next, Stainless appliances emitting UFO traffic communication…

Certain soils and rocks that contain high levels of uranium also store natural deposits of radon:
a.) granite
b.) phosphate
c.) shale
d.) pitchblende

AND…[size=3]It appears that enough $$$$$ can get anyone to say anything!!![/size]

See:[size=2] for this statement:[/size]

"Renowned geochemist Donald Langmuir, Ph.D. has issued several publications regarding this very topic. Dr.Langmuir received his geochemistry Ph.D. from Harvard University and is a respected expert in natural stone and geochemistry fields. In one publication, Dr.Langmuir concludes that…"The amount of radon released from a typical granite countertop is certain to be completely negligible and well below detection by any know method of radioactive analysis. Dr.Langmuir goes on to state that “I would suggest that a good way to reduce our exposure to radon present in outdoor air would be to build an air-tight house out of granite countertops.”


Some installers actually do this In addition, they choose other materials that do not off-gas such as granite countertops. An air/vapor retarder should be used to line the interior shell of the cabinets

I wonder how long they can emit Radon, you would think it would eventually disperse & surely couldn’t be capable of producing more. Can they seal it inside? Strange…

So many studies say no radon emitting, but whatever clients are willing to buy installers are willing to sell and vise versa. I think so much of it is bogus.

If granite emits radon, I think a valid testing methodology would be to examine the total effects of this in controlled environments, with measurements taken with and without the countertops in place.

It’s not enough to put a granite tile in a plastic bag and mesaure it for radon.

There needs to be more that this rhetoric from either side, IMO.

Troy… do you have any radon testing accreditation? This is from someone who teaches…

The half life of Uranum is 4.5 Billion years, and the half life of Radum is 1620 years. So the breakdown of those elements into Radon gas from the granit in the countertop, will continue longer than the life of the cabinets.

If this is a concern to a homeowner, my reccomendation would be two fold. #1) would be to have the radon levels in the HOME tested. Find out what the average Radon levels are. #2) Take another test placing the monitor on the countertop itself, and compare the values.

If the home levels are relatively low, and no mitigation is reccomened fine. If the counter top levels are low, that’s fine too. If either are elevated, then either mitigate, and/or replace the counter.

I’m not sure if a countertop could be sealed to keep the gas inside or not. In theory, I believe it could. Radon gas flows underground around barriers (like stone ledges). I’m not familiar enough with stone sealers to say for sure. I’d definately reccomend retesting aftwards to make sure, and then re-seal and re-test on a regular basis. (Might just be easier to replace the counter if it’s high.)

What about granit itself, in it’s natural state? My whole house is sitting on granite:shock:

Brian Jones

Get it tested for radon…EPA says you ought to be doing that ever two years regardless…

Working on it now.

I Have been following several articles and publications and extensive research. I am working on a radon publication and hope to publish it I am corssing my fingers.

Covering them in lead ought to seal emissions and do the trick :roll:


I see that someone brought up Langmuir. The MIA (stone lobby) paid this guy to write a “paper” on this subject, and WAS NOT published after peer review in a scientific journal. These scientists live and die by their published papers, the fact that this paper wasn’t published tells you that it would not have passed the peer review. Indeed, there are numerous holes in the thing. I had lunch with Dr. Kitto at the AARST convention las october and asked him what got him interested in studying granite for Radon. His reply was the very Langmuir paper we speak of, that the claim that less than one atomic decay per year from a granite countertop got him (Kitto) to wondering why the stone industry was going to such lenghts to misslead.

Most stones used as countertops emit four or five thousand radiation particles per minute, some go 100,000 decays per minute.

Mr. Christopher,

Radon is part of the uranium decay chain, the granite will be emitting Radon for billions of years to come. As to sealing, the MIA claims that no stone can be sealed vapor proof without damaging the stone. Indeed, Dr. Kitto did testing that proved Radon is not stopped by even dense stone. There are very thick coatings available for use in basements that can slow down the emanation rate, but no one wants a countertop slathered in a tar/aluminum coating product.

I see that one poster found our old website on this topic. Thanks. The most current info is at the bottom of this post.

Best keep looking for info on this topic rather than believe the stone industry. Way too much money at risk, plus the have sucessfully covered this up for the past 14 years. They can’t tell the truth, so they keep digging the hole deeper.

If this was a non issue, neither the CRCPD (state radiation officials) nor AARST (radon scientists) would have committees seting maximum allowable radiation/radon levels for stones and measurement protocols. ANSI and ASME are also looking into the controversy for their organizations.

On the radon issue, we have a full scale radon test going currently, over 10 pCi/L so far from only 18square feet of granite in a 96 square foot room. That is like smoking 1 1/2 packs a day,

We have a lot of info on the topics available.

Here is what AARST has to say… Read more at:

The money sentence…“At this time, the EPA does not believe sufficient data exists to conclude that the types of granite
commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels.”

Here is the link to the New York Times article that started a lot of needless panic, ( note how the title is designed to create fear in the reader) : WHATS LURKING IN YOUR GRANITE COUNTERTOPS](
Try this instead, its the EPA’S ( ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY) take on it:
What about Radon in Granite Countertops?
And here is a reuters article on the 2008 study from the University of Akron :

New Study Confirms Commonly Used Granite is Safe for Countertops

University of Akron Radon Testing of Various Countertop Materials](
Final Report by
L. L. Chyi
Department of Geology and Environmental Science
The University of Akron
Akron, OH 44325-4101
May, 2008


There are those who would like to sell home inspectors devices to measure the radon levels, and make big bucks from gullible clients.

how can you test with any accuracy, how do you isolate the counter top to get a reading, imo cant be done at this time.