Radon in Granite Countertops – Is There a Risk for Oregon and Washington Homeowners?

The popularity of granite countertops in kitchens has soared during the last decade — a tenfold increase, according to the Marble Institute of America, a trade group representing granite fabricators. Unfortunately, so have reports of granite countertops emitting radon and other radiation in excess of levels considered safe, according to a July 2008 story in The New York Times.

To be sure, health physicists and radiation experts agree that most granite countertops emit radiation and radon at extremely low levels, and say these emissions are insignificant compared with so-called background radiation that is constantly raining down from outer space, seeping up from the earth’s crust, or emanating from manmade sources like X-rays, luminous watches and smoke detectors.

Nevertheless, according to The New York Times article, the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has been receiving an increased number of calls from radon inspectors and concerned homeowners nationwide about granite countertops with radiation measurements several times above normal levels.

The EPA’s website offers a helpful resource called A Citizen’s Guide to Radon, which explains how radon can get into your home, how to test for radon, and what the test results mean.

To test your home, you can call a local laboratory that performs radon testing. The EPA recommends taking action if radon readings in your home exceed 4 picocuries per liter of air (a measure of radioactive emission), which is about the same risk for cancer as smoking a half a pack of cigarettes per day.

The Oregon product liability lawyers at D’Amore & Associates represent consumers in class action lawsuits filed as a result of injury from environmental and toxic torts such as chemical spills, defective products, and pharmaceuticals, medical and other devices that cause injury.