Granite has long been considered a beautiful and luxurious stone for interior and outdoor designers. While it had been thought of as a “high-end” construction material, it has become an increasingly popular stone building material. It’s proven affordable and aesthetically satisfying. It’s no surprise reports of granite’s safety in family homes has been called into question. People want to know: Is granite safe for my countertops?
In a word, yes. Opponents of granite would have us believe that it contains some unseen deadly toxin like carbon monoxide. Granite does emit Radon, however. This is apparently the root of the controversy. If anyone has been listening to the critical media reports, they might be panicked or needlessly concerned. Radon is a naturally occurring gas found in our environment. It should not be used interchangeably with the word Radiation, like many reports have done. The sun is what gives off most of our radiation.
Radon is commonly found in the basements of homes built in the Midwestern or Eastern regions of the U.S. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the primary source of Radon is found in the soil underneath and around the structure of our homes. In response to these reports, many respected scientists have questioned the scientific basis behind the criticisms of granite. Dr. John McCarthy, president of Environmental Health & Engineering states:
“All the data we’ve seen to this point, certainly indicates that there’s not a problem.”
Dr. McCarthy goes on to explain that we are exposed to several forms of radiation, and that we have radiation in our bodies, and in our food.
Author, Consultant, and former Instructor at the Harvard University School of Public Health, David Ropeik, described the relationship between Radiation and Granite as a non-issue. He also described the relationship between Radon and Radiation the same way.
The reasons for railing against the popularity of granite could be many. But the most obvious is because of business competition. Granite’s popularity has compelled many synthetic stone manufacturers to create a material that could compete in a more cost-effective way. Synthetic stone materials have not been nearly as successful as they had hoped. It would, however, turn the tide if there were reports that can scare consumers away from the ever-popular granite.