Are You Serving Up Radon in Your Kitchen?


Thursday’s New York Times story will have a profusion of contractors and granite dealers crying the blues, not to mention homeowners who have already coughed up the cash for their granite countertops.

The article, titled “What’s Lurking in Your Countertop,” has sent a frenzy of worry across the nation, leaving people to contemplate whether they should be buying new napkin rings or a sledgehammer.

Writer Kate Murphy reports on the excessive amount of radon being found in granite countertops. She said that the E.P.A. recommends taking action if radon gas levels in a home exceeds 4 picocuries per liter of air – about the same risk for cancer as smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day.

To put this in perspective, Murphy said, airline passengers get 3 millirem of cosmic radiation on a flight from New York to Los Angeles.On the flip side, a new study released by the Marble Institute of America insists that granite counters are safe. The research and report was done by the Department of Geology and Environmental Science at the University of Akon.

Now if you’re in the market for a new counter for whatever reason, and choose to opt out of granite, there are many other options available, said Mariette Barsoum, founder of Divine Kitchens in Boston.

A few of her suggestions include:

Ice stone – made from recycled glass and concrete

Ceasarstone – made of 93% natural quartz



Tiled porcelain-

Ceramic tile-


Wood – such as bamboo, tigerwood, redwood or cherry

Information on radon, certified technicians and do-it-yourself radon testing kits can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency website. In the meantime, a pine 2×4 should function well and leave you worry free!