Granite Counter Tops Emitting Radon

don’t take this as arguing for the device, from what I’ve read, I don’t think it’s necessary…

However, to answer your question, you pass the device back and forth over the surface of the countertop. It will read radiation “hot spots” and alert you to their location.

You then take one of the air check sample kits, and place it on the hot spot and seal it with the supplied plate/cover. After two days you send the sample kit to air check to determine if the hot spot is radon or not.

Great way to sell sample kits and devices…

Bottom line, check the air. If you look at the results of the test done by the U. of Akron, even if the granite is putting off a significant amount of radon, it will only (worst case) increase the air levels about 2 to 3/10ths of a pico curie. Once again, check the air.

BTW, if I forgot to say it, check the air.

Agreed, but i would like to add one more thing

Thanks for the response Mark, but I will stay with cant be a true reading. next thing you know they will be talking about granite steps emissions ( I know they are outside )

…The results found that Crema Bordeaux, which emitted the greatest amount
of radon, contributes less than 7 percent of the EPA’s standard for action.
The stone emitted 0.27 pCi/L, or less than 7 percent of the EPA’s level of 4.0
pCi/L, well below any cause for health concerns.

(from Akron study)

So should we check the air? :mrgreen:;-):twisted::stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks to all who posted, I learned a lot in this thread.

A user on another forum, who works for a very large granite countertop manufacturing concern that supplies tops all over the northeast, was summarily fired from his job for posting on an internet site about granite and radon. Feel free to PM me if anyone would like his contact information.

AARST has come a long way since they wrote that statement. They appointed a committee to look into the risks of Radon from granite after hearing Dr. Kitto report at their October meeting. The CRCPD (state radiation officials) also set a committee to looking into this.
The EPA supports both committees because of the lack of data.
The Akron study? Paid for by the MIA and the author is not answering any questions on his work, has clammed up completely.
The PM 1703 was recently tested side by side with three other top of the line meters, some costing upwards of $12,000. It did well for a inexpensive meter ($500), over responding on some radiation energy levels, under responding on others, but the general trend line followed the more expensive meters. It actually out performed one of the $3,000 meters. I know, I loaned the meter to the researcher, one that chairs the AARST committee looking into this controversy.
You see, the study of Radon requires radiation training and knowledge, the two can not be separated. This is a smalll scientific community, interlinked with many being both AARST and CRCPD members.
On isolating the top. It isn’t needed. One tests for background away from the granite, then that level is subtracted from the reading on the granite.
And I agree 100%, do a whole house Radon test but include a kit in the kitchen. Air Chek kits are just fine.

And the Akron study? it found up to ,27 pCi/L rise due to one type of granite, Crema Bordeaux. And you can bet it was a low radiation slab that was tested. That .27 pCi/L has a cancer rate associated with it, the EPA estimates a risk of 2 per 1000 at 1.3 pCi/L. Do the math, I came up with about .41 per 1,000 or 4.1 per 10,000 extra cancers.

There is no safe level of Radon.

And yes, check the air!

Please contact me about this guy. I’d like to hear the story.



Al how can you be sure of the readings, did you block the surrounding area somehow ?

AARST Position Statement - Granite Countertops and Radon Gas(PDF)

I checked today and could find no additional information on their site since the August 2008 statement.

I have been told that the Red color in different granites has the most radon. And creama bordeaux has lots of ren in it but there are worse ones.

Hi Dennis,

Good question.

First background radiation levels are recorded before measuring, as well as afterward. That level is subtracted from the total.

Same thing with Radon. For example, we found .775 pCi/L of Radon in our Radon room prior to starting the last round of testing. After 18 square feet of some fairly hot granite was installed, the room Radon levels went over 10 pCi/L. Later another 18 square feet of the same granite was installed, but this additional granite was low radiation level. We expected a ten to twenty percent rise in Radon levels.

Instead it first doubled, then trippled. The reality is that not only is the radiation level important, but the porosity that allows the Radon to escape.

A later test with all the hot granite was removed and replaced with low radiation level granite. That test averaged around 20 pCi/L.

Another point is that our testing verified what four Radon researchers predicted from their lab testing.

We are about to start testing again with variable ventilation to see exactly how much air flow it takes to lower the Radon levels. We know that with an open door, the room stays around 2 to 5 pCi/L.


Look in the 2008 symposium papers. Brodhead has two papers that cover his findings and Kitto has one. Note that Kitto’s paper isn’t the complete presentation he gave at the conference. He had a study ready, but some of the seriously hot granite samples we sent convinced him to reopen his research. It is finished and going through peer review. It will show up to 24 pCi/L radon in an unventilated room, half that for normal ventilation.

This September, there will likely be a panel discussion on the issue again. ARRST asked me to participate and to line up the other speakers. Dr. Steck and Dr. Kitto have agreed so far, along with an Industrial Hygienist who also is a certified Radon tester in CA. A very respected Physicist has accepted but is awaiting approval by his employer. I asked the stone industry to participate as well.


Some reds are a problem, most aren’t. The hottest stone found so far is a black and white slab. Red dragon for example is safe as can be from the slabs we’ve tested so far.

No offense, but who are you?


I’m just a cabinet maker that also sells countertops, including granite. I got involved in the granite testing so I could CMA.

It is looking like the CRCPD (state radiation officials) are going to recomend to the EPA that they adopt the European Union regulations on radioactive granite. We were contacted about three weeks back and asked to provide a copy of the EU regs to one of their consultants.

On the AARST panel discussion, I had invited the president of the MIA (stone lobby) but the AARST officials requested that instead of the suit, the MIA provide one of their scientists so they could defend their latest “study”. The radon research community has been calling the latest MIA/E, H, & E study “unreliable”, “incomplete”, and “untrustworthy”. The MIA has been desparately trying to gain support for a “Home Approved Stone” program, but again the protocols for their “voluntary” testing program has come under attack. Besides, no one should trust an industry that has called this issue a lie for over 16 years to turn around and do an honest job screening granite slabs that can cost thousands of dollars per slab.

Also, Dr. Kitto published the first paper on radon and granite, gave some data including stones that emitted 1,000 times more radon than the MIA “study” found. Kitto didn’t release any of the hotter sample data, he is saving that for the follow up study, wanting the Health Physicists to become familiar with his measurement protocols before springing the hot granite data on them. The paper was published in the Health Physics Journal in April of this year.

You guys are very open minded on this topic, speaks well of your organization. Some realtors are now providing radon/granite handouts to both customers and buyers just to CYA.

Here is a link to our forum, not a lot of posters so I use it as a blog spot for the latest information on the granite/radon/radiation controversy. Much of the good stuff I can’t post about till the researchers publish their results, but I do have more info than anyone else has on the topics.

You guys that are making the case that granite is an issues…

If the air in the home tests below mitigation levels, what is the issue? Why test the countertops?

Radon causes lung cancer. Even if the granite is positive, if the radon isn’t getting into the air, then what is the issue (other than selling testing equipment, and tests?)

Done 1 granite counter top test and talked about 50 out of doing it.
picked up 142 radon tests today, we do a bunch but do not push granite counter top testing, but then we don’t sell artifical granite counter tops like the guys that started this mess.
it’s time to go home, you folks have a great evening


Here’s a part of the problem…your quote:

Who is “no one”?

My radon teacher was the person responsible for venturing into those mines so long ago, as a physicist for the Atomic Energy Commission. He helped develop instruments and protocols for the testing of radon. He believes this to be a total farce.

He has no axe to grind and is part of a well respected EPA-approved lab who could make $$ on the testing of granite counter tops. Seems to me that his slant would be opposite of what it is. Funny.

You belong to a form of contractors/manufacturers of solid surface countertops.

This is hype and hysteria, created by an industry in competition with those who produce granite countertops.

Its a load of crap. But as long as there are $$ involved, the mantra is to play on the fears of the general public.

I don’t know if it is an entire load of crap Joe,it is granite, has fissures etc, it’s the testing I have problems with