If you are considering renovating your kitchen with quartz countertops, you may have already heard a common urban legend that they can emit unsafe levels of radiation in your home. While it is true that stones like quartz and granite contain certain radioactive elements, the levels of radiation they emit are so negligible as to be no real risk to you or your family. If that simple assurance isn't enough to give you peace of mind, these four points will help clarify the chemical processes going on in many quartz countertops.
Recognizing Radioactive Materials in Granite and Quartz
Quartz is a mineral comprised mostly of crystal lattices of silicon and oxygen, but a few other elements appear occasionally within individual quartz deposits. This often includes trace amounts of radioactive elements like uranium and thorium. These elements are harmless when sealed away inside a slab of stone, but as they age, they decay into an airborne substance known as radon.
Understanding How Uranium Transforms in Radon
The defining characteristic of radioactive materials is that they are unstable on a nuclear level, causing them to occasionally emit particles and other molecules as they attempt to reach equilibrium. As the radioactive substance changes, so does its elemental structure. For example, solid uranium decays into the solid element radium, which then decays into the gas radon. Radon may be able to escape quartz through tiny air bubbles or cracks in the stone, floating into the air or your kitchen.
Putting Radon Levels Into Perspective
If that description sounds a little frightening, bear in mind that quartz itself typically contains very low levels of uranium and radium, and those elements decay very slowly. It's also worth considering the sheer amount of radiation human beings are exposed to on a daily basis, much of it unavoidably coming from the sun and soil. Even your own body produces radiation. Compared to the natural and safe levels of radiation you already absorb every day, the amount produced by a quartz countertop will make a negligible difference. These conclusions were backed by the EPA itself, which declared granite, and by extension quartz, countertops as safe for home use.
Ventilating Your Kitchen For Peace of Mind
If you are still worried about radon in your kitchen, it may be worth remembering that radon usually only reaches unsafe concentrations in rooms with little to no ventilation, like basements. A standard kitchen or home is breezy enough to keep air moving, continuously homogenizing itself to standard radiation levels. With so many advantages and no real risks, there is no reason to let this myth about quartz countertops shadow your decision-making process. Contact a local outlet, such as Rogan Granitindustrie, Inc, for further assistance.