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Granite Countertops a Recipe for Danger?

Debate Heats Up About Radon Risks

More Granite Testing Needed continued...

The test was paid for by the MIA, and the samples represented 85% of the granite used for kitchen countertops in the United States, Martinez says.

He says that the MIA-funded research represents the only “real” science examining the issue, because no one else has been willing to pay for quality studies.

“(Our) studies have consistently shown that granite poses no heath risk,” he says.

But Kitto says there is no way to know if all granite countertops are safe because so few samples have been tested.

“Right now, it is impossible to understand the scope of the problem or even if there is a problem,” he says.

Llope agrees that more samples need to be tested.

“The industry says there is no danger, but how can they make that leap of faith when granite is coming from all over the world and only a small percentage has been tested?” he says. “How can they possibly know?”

Test for Radon, Experts Say

The EPA recommends that all homes be tested for radon in indoor air, and the researchers contacted by WebMD agreed that testing could provide peace of mind to homeowners worried about the safety of their granite countertops.

Recommendations for using do-it-yourself radon testing kits, which can be purchased at hardware stores and online, include:

  • Place one test in the basement or lowest area in the home to determine if radon is coming from the ground. 
  • Place another test in a bedroom to establish a background radon level. 
  • Place one or two tests in the kitchen, with one nearby the granite surface and the other farther away.

“The home kits test for radon, not (other) radiation; but if the findings are negative you can assume you don’t have a radiation problem,” Llope says. “If the results come back positive, you should probably have the house tested professionally.”

The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists lists the names of qualified professionals who conduct radon and radiation testing on its web site, www.aarst.org.

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