Do Quartz Countertops Emit Radon Gas?

Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. Made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, these engineered stone surfaces are praised for their durability, low maintenance, and sleek appearance. However, some homeowners have expressed concerns about potential radon gas emissions from quartz countertops. So, do quartz countertops emit radon gas?

What is Radon Gas?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is invisible, odorless, and tasteless. It is formed from the natural radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water. Radon gas seeps up through the ground and can enter homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, pipes, drains, and other openings.

Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of radon can increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. The Surgeon General and EPA estimate that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths each year.

Do Quartz Countertops Contain Radioactive Materials?

Quartz is an abundant mineral found in the natural environment, so trace amounts of naturally occurring radioactive elements like uranium and radium can be present in quartz deposits. However, quartz used in countertops is specifically engineered and manufactured, not just mined raw from the earth.

During the manufacturing process, mined quartz is crushed into a fine powder and combined with resins, pigments, and other materials to form slabs. According to the Marble Institute of America, this process dilutes any radioactive materials that may be present in the natural stone.

Testing Results for Radon Emissions

Multiple scientific studies and tests by independent labs have found extremely low to undetectable levels of radon emissions from quartz countertops.

  • A study published in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity tested samples from over 100 different quartz countertop surfaces from various manufacturers. Radon surface emission results were indistinguishable from background levels.
  • Researchers at the University of Akron tested quartz countertop samples from two leading manufacturers and found radon surface emission rates were below detection limits.
  • The Health Physics Society reports that multiple studies have shown quartz countertops result in estimated radon exposures well below EPA and OSHA standards.

Based on the current body of scientific evidence, radon emissions from quartz countertops are negligible and well within established safety limits. The Health Physics Society and other organizations do not consider quartz countertops to be a significant source of radon exposure.

Comparison to Granite Countertops

Some natural stone countertops, especially certain granite types, have shown higher radon emissions in testing. This is because granite is an igneous rock containing trace uranium, radium and thorium.

However, a study in the Journal of Radiological Protection compared radon exhalation from quartz surfaces to various granites. The highest granite radon reading was over 50 times greater than the highest quartz reading.

So while specific granites may require radon testing, quartz countertops present substantially lower radon risks overall.

Recommendations for Homeowners

The EPA recommends all homes be tested for radon regardless of countertop materials, since the primary radon risks come from soil and rock underneath the home.

If you already have a quartz countertop or are considering installing one, follow these tips:

  • Test your home for radon according to EPA guidelines.
  • Ensure proper ventilation under countertops and seal any cracks and openings.
  • Clean quartz surfaces regularly to remove any radon decay products that may accumulate.
  • Consider selecting quartz slabs made from lighter colored quartz aggregates, as some research suggests darker quartz emits slightly more radon.

With proper home radon testing and mitigation, quartz countertops present minimal health risks related to radon exposure. Given the popular appeal and minimal maintenance of quartz, they remain one of the best countertop materials available today.

FAQs About Quartz Countertops and Radon

Is it safe to have quartz countertops in my home?

Yes, quartz countertops are considered safe and meet radon emission standards and guidelines from leading health organizations. They present a negligible radon risk compared to background levels.

How does quartz compare to granite regarding radon?

Studies show quartz emits 50 times less radon than many granites. Some specific granites have higher radon, so consider testing pre-installed granite. But quartz has very low emissions.

Should I test quartz countertops for radon before installing?

Testing is not necessary for quartz. Multiple studies confirm radon emissions are extremely low. Testing your home’s air annually and ensuring proper ventilation is more important.

Can quartz countertops increase indoor radon levels?

It is unlikely. Given the very low surface emission rates from quartz, even in tiny spaces they would not raise indoor radon substantially above overall home levels. Proper ventilation is key.

Are there any risks for babies or children from quartz countertops?

No health or radiation risks are expected for babies or children from quartz countertops, since radon emissions are so minimal. Standard radon testing for all homes with children is recommended.

How frequently should I test my home for radon if I have quartz counters?

Follow standard EPA testing recommendations for all homes regardless of countertop material. Test every 2 years and whenever purchasing a home. Quartz itself does not warrant more frequent testing.


In summary,quartz countertops are a popular and practical option praised for their durability and appearance. While tiny levels of radioactive elements can be found in natural quartz, sufficient dilution and processing occur during manufacturing to produce slabs that meet stringent health and safety standards for radon emissions.

Multiple scientific studies have confirmed quartz countertops emit only negligible levels of radon, well below established exposure limits. When compared to granite, quartz consistently emits substantially lower radon levels. Still, all homeowners should follow EPA radon testing guidelines. With proper home ventilation and radon mitigation if needed, quartz countertops pose minimal risks related to radon exposure. For homeowners considering an attractive, low-maintenance countertop, quartz remains one of the best choices available.