Can Quartz Countertops Emit Radon?

Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, some homeowners have expressed concern about potential radon gas emissions from quartz countertops. Here is a detailed look at whether quartz countertops can emit radon.

What is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. It forms naturally from the decay of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon gas can seep into buildings through cracks in the foundation and accumulate to dangerous levels. Prolonged radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

Sources of Radon in Homes

The primary source of radon gas in homes is the soil and bedrock under the foundation. Radon seeps in through cracks and openings in the foundation. Other potential radon sources include well water, some building materials, and natural gas. Granite, marble, and limestone emit small amounts of radon.

Do Quartz Countertops Emit Radon?

Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from crushed quartz bound together with resin. The quartz is ground natural stone, while the resin is typically polyester or epoxy-based.

According to the EPA, quartz countertops do not pose a significant radon risk. Natural quartz crystals contain only trace amounts of radium, which decays into radon. The manufacturing process further reduces radon levels.

Independent testing by consumer reports and countertop manufacturers has found radon emissions from quartz countertops to be negligible – similar to background levels.

Why Quartz Countertops Don’t Emit Radon

Here are some key reasons why quartz countertops do not emit dangerous levels of radon gas:

  • Low Radium Content: Natural quartz contains very low concentrations of radium. Granite, on the other hand, can contain higher radium.
  • Dilution During Manufacturing: Any radon emissions from natural quartz crystals become diluted when crushed and blended with resin.
  • Curing Process: The curing and heating process used to harden quartz countertops helps minimize gas emissions.
  • Non-Porous: Unlike natural stone, quartz has a non-porous surface which restricts gas flow.
  • Testing: Extensive independent testing by manufacturers has found radon emissions from quartz to be negligible.

Radon Testing Recommendations

While quartz countertops are considered very low risk, health experts still recommend testing your home for radon. Radon testing is inexpensive and easy. Active soil depressurization is the most effective way to reduce high indoor radon levels.

The EPA recommends taking the following steps:

  • Test your home for radon – widely available test kits only cost about $15.
  • If radon is 4 pCi/L or higher, consider fixing your home. The EPA suggests radon levels below 2 pCi/L.
  • Hire a certified radon mitigation professional to install an active soil depressurization system. This can reduce radon levels by up to 99%.

How to Choose Low Radon Countertops

For homeowners concerned about radon, quartz remains an excellent countertop choice that looks beautiful and requires little maintenance. While quartz countertops pose effectively no radon risk, these tips can further minimize exposure:

  • Test countertop samples from the manufacturer. While not required, this extra step can provide added peace of mind.
  • Choose lighter quartz colors. Some pigments may contain trace radioactive elements. Lighter quartz generally emits less.
  • Select quartz sourced from non-granite quartzite. Pure quartzite contains less radium than granite.
  • Ventilate kitchens and basements well. Good airflow can reduce any possible radon accumulation.
  • Seal any cracks and openings in your home’s foundation and walls. This prevents radon seepage.

The Bottom Line

Multiple independent tests have unanimously concluded that quartz countertops do not emit dangerous levels of radon gas. Their negligible emissions are well below the EPA’s threshold. While quartz countertops pose effectively zero radon risk, testing your home and improving ventilation can offer added protection. With its durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance, quartz remains one of the best countertop materials available today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertops and Radon

Can quartz countertops emit radon?

No. Independent testing shows quartz countertops emit negligible amounts of radon, well below dangerous levels. Natural quartz contains only trace radium which decays into radon. The manufacturing process dilutes any radon.

What countertop material emits the most radon?

Granite, especially certain varieties, can emit higher levels of radon due to natural radium content. Marble also emits more radon than quartz or other engineered surfaces. Quartz emits very little radon, on par with background levels.

Is there lead in quartz countertops?

No. Quartz countertops do not contain lead or other toxic heavy metals. Lead is sometimes present in low-quality granite, but never in quartz or other engineered stone surfaces. All quartz products comply with health and safety regulations.

Can you get radon poisoning from quartz?

No. The miniscule amounts of radon gas emitted by quartz countertops are far below the EPA’s threshold for dangerous radon exposure. Radon poisoning is caused by prolonged exposure to high concentrations of radon, well above what quartz materials emit. Quartz surfaces pose effectively no radon risk.

Should I seal my quartz countertops?

No, sealing is not necessary or beneficial for quartz countertops. Since quartz is non-porous, sealants only produce a surface film without penetrating or offering added protection. Save your money – sealing provides no real advantage and can diminish the look of quartz.


Quartz countertops provide an attractive, durable, and low maintenance surface that has been extensively tested for radon. Negligible trace emissions are far below hazardous levels. While testing your home’s overall radon levels is smart, quartz countertops themselves are not a source of concern. Focus on proper installation and enjoy the quality and beauty of quartz in your kitchen or bath.