Granite countertops. Granite vanity tops. Granite and health
Granite countertop sealers. Radioactive emissions from granite
Granite is a granular igneous stone and is mostly made of quartz and veldspar. It is quaried in locations throughout the world which accounts for a wide range of colours to choose from.
Granite bathroom vanity and kitchen countertops have gained popularity in the last few years. Granite usually has a medium to course grained texture. Polished granite is hard and tough, durable, heat resistant, scratch resistant and is available in various shades of black, beige and grey. Granite tops are heavy and installation should be left to a professional. The tops are expensive but some companies offer a thinner and more affordable, granite top (1/2 inch or 12.7 mm. thick). These "lightweight" tops are supported by a plywood or MDS board base.
HEALTH CONSERNS - RADIATION FROM GRANITE
Granite contains small amounts of uranium, usually in greater volumes than other rocks. The uranium breaks down on exposure to air, forming radon gas.
The following information (in italics) about granite and radioactivity in granite is from a publication titled "Granite Countertops and Radiation" published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"Any naturally formed rock material has the potential of containing varying amounts of naturally occurring radiation. Natural radioactive elements like uranium, radium, and thorium can be present in a wide number of minerals that appear as crystals in granite from around the world. So, it is not unusual for materials such as granite to have some amount of radioactivity (emissions of alpha or beta particles or gamma rays). Depending on the composition of the molten rock from which they formed, some pieces of granite can exhibit more radioactivity than others." To read the full report click here. (http://www.epa.gov/radiation/tenorm/granite-countertops.html
Most granites used for home countertops are thought to be safe. Only a few of the more exotic and new varieties have been found to be hot (emitting). Before signing the sales contract ask your supplier about radiation levels. If they say it is safe, ask them to put in writing. If they decline to accommodate your request, ask yourself, what are they hiding from me? Walk away and find another supplier.
DISADVANTAGES of GRANITE
* Possibility of radioactive emission. Read "HEALTH CONCERNS" above.
* Granite is porous and requires annual sealing. Spills of oil, juice and other staining agents should be wiped up quickly to prevent the bathroom vanity top or kitchen countertop from absorbing liquids which could develop into stains.
* If, because of any reason, you have to replace a granite top it is next to impossible to find another top with the same colour and pattern.
* Granite tops are brittle and if hit by a heavy or sharp object the top can chip or crack easily.