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Is There Uranium in Your Granite Countertop? — Perhaps A Radon Test Is Appropriate

An out-of-town buyer asked me the other day if we had to worry about radon in our area.  I told him, “No, it’s typically not something we worry about here.”

We have very few basements in Oklahoma and radon just isn’t something we have to worry about…  or should we?

A friend sent me a link to an article from The New York Times called, “What’s Lurking in Your Countertop?”  After reading this article I think I need to rethink my response when someone asks about radon.

I know I have seen gold specks in granite.  It only makes sense that uranium could be present in some slices of granite.

Granite is an igneous rock formed under heat and pressure.  Generally it will have heavier materials like copper and zinc.  A typical ton of granite is a composite of materials and can include iron, uranium, platinum, gold, silver, and lead.  Other rocks in granite are generally melted down into their constuent materials.

Uranium releases radon gas as it decays.  Therefore, it makes sense that if there is a little bit of uranium in your granite countertop, then there could be some emissions of radon gas in your home.

Perhaps when recommending home inspections, I should recommend radon tests for homes with granite countertops, even though the local geology typically would not lead one to believe that radon gas is a problem

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