4 answers

How to Test Granite Countertops for Radiation?

Has anyone figured out how to test granite countertops for radiation, given the new study that suggests potential risks posed by certain types of granite? I've ordered a radon testing kit but I'm unsure how to detect the amount of radiation being emitted. Thanks for any suggestions!

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We had a radon test done in a house we owned in Iowa and the levels were high and had to have a radon mitigation system put in. They bring in a testing unit and put it the lowest level of your home and let it run for 24 hours with all your windows closed. We then had the results which were high. The radon gas comes though any cracks (or cuts which we all have) in the basement floor. Radon is very random, we had high levels but the next door neighbor didn't. The mitigation system has a fan that pulls the gas from below the concrete and pumps it up and outside instead of before it can come into your house. Everything I've read about granite countertops and radon says that the levels are trace and nothing to worry about. I've never done the home testing kit, but I know it has to be sent away to get the results and takes awhile. Hope this helps!
J.

Radon is NOT the same as radiation. For Radon you put a little device in the basement to detect for Radon Gas vapors being emitted from the soil. Its simple, easy and cheap. Radon gasses are always their highest in summer as the soil warms up and the quickest way to dissipate the gas is to open a window in the basement to vent the gas. Radon can cause lung cancer if you are exposed to it for long periods of time and its at a high level. Just FYI the level the EPA sets at "5" is way lower than Canada "21" and other industrialized countries.

Radiation from a granite countertop is measured using a geiger counter. FYI: The earth is radioactive, office buildings are radioactive. Some are more radioactive than others, but the fact is radiation is a fact no matter what you do: get an x ray, fly in an airplane, work downtown, whatever. Even countertops though you would need to sit on your countertop for a year before seeing any effects, so I personally wouldn't worry about it. But if you are concerned, remove them and go with laminate and be careful about putting hot things on it. And don't fly anywhere, the radiation from that is much more of a concern IMHO.

Congrats on the new baby.

Hi L.,
I'm due in September with my first too! Lucky, us, a summer of record breaking hot temps...

Anyway, my Mom mentioned this new study to me also. Of course, she prefaced it with "this isn't to worry you" so I worried about it.

I know a Geiger counter is needed to measure for radiation, but as the other posts mentioned, radiation is everywhere in limited amounts. I talked to my husband who works with "incident management" specialists (i.e. first responders -like police firefighters paramedics etc-) who deal in the technology and strategic planning for, say, a terrorist attack or chemical spill. He says he's seen them do demonstrations on the radiation emitted from a banana, followed by the explanation that only certain amounts are harmful blah blah blah.

SO...I guess we shouldn't panic. However, I've bugged him about it (what are pregnant wives for after all) and he's promised to ask his contacts about how one would go about testing and what the safe limits would be.

I'll post anything he comes back with. If you want to contact me directly - do!

:)
J.
____@____.com

Why don't check out the EPA's web site? They have an excellent article on radiation in houshold items. Your smoke alarms probably contain radioactive material, so might your watch, clocks, the stuff you fertilize your lawn with and even some food items - it's in the earth itself. Chances are it's nothing to get worked up about.

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