Do Quartz Countertops Emit Radon?
Natural quartz can emit trace amounts of radon.
More Info: Natural quartz is the fourth-hardest substance on our planet. It can emit trace amounts of radon, much like any other natural stone product used in replacement countertops, tile or hardscape. What is usually called "quartz" and made into countertops is more properly called engineered stone. Engineered stone -- a blend of crushed quartz, glass and resins -- does not release radon because it is permanently sealed during the fabrication process. The vast majority of quartz countertops installed in the United States are engineered, and sold under brand names such as Silestone, Cambria and Zodiaq.
Which Countertops Are Safest?
There is some disagreement over whether quartz has definitive advantages over granite or other natural stone, especially where off-gassing is concerned. Consumer Reports, the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, nuclear scientists and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have all contributed opinions and statistics to the countertop debate. There is currently no definitive test or process for certifying any natural stone countertop as radon-free, although it is an issue currently being explored.
The EPA has concluded that, based on the most recent statistics and available information, there is currently little to no health risk in the average home due to radon escaping from natural stone. The agency has no plans to commission further studies, or update the guidelines currently in place regarding acceptable whole-house radon levels. Homeowners are advised to have their countertops tested prior to purchase if there are safety concerns.