One of the biggest concerns that many homeowner’s have when they consider adding stone counters to the homes is the potential for radon. This colorless, odorless gas can cause a number of health problems, including cancer if it’s found in your home, which has led to radon detection tests and radon elimination systems being common in many areas and homes. Because radon can often be found in areas of decomposing and crushed granite, there is a misconception that granite counters may be a source for the gas as well. Fortunately for homeowners who love the look of stone, granite counters give off little to no radon at all, and do not present a health concern for those that have them installed.
Most stones sold as granite on the market today are not actually granite. Known as “commercial granite” these stones may be dolomites, gabbros, and quartzites, as well as some types of marble and other metamorphic stones. Many of these do not give off any radon, whether they are left in the ground or cut and installed in your kitchen. Therefore if you are buying a home with a “granite” counter installed, this does not necessarily mean that the stone will be a potential problem, because it may not be granite at all.
For the stones and granites that do give off radon gas, the amount that the stones release into the air is far below the levels that the EPA has determined to be harmful. The levels found in true granite countertops are negligible and the EPA has issued statements to the effect that having granite counters in your kitchen or home are not harmful and are unlikely to cause health problems such as cancer.
So if you love the look of real stone in your kitchen, go ahead and have it installed and enjoy it; there is little to no worry that your stone will be the cause of potential problems even if you live with it for years.