BuildClean, a not-for-profit consumer infor­mation organization in Houston, wants to help clean up your kitchen—and your foyer, bathrooms, and anywhere else radon and radiation might linger in today’s tightly built homes. “Except for VOCs, there’s no testing or standards for other toxins [in a home],” says BuildClean co-founder and president Sara Speer Selber. “Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy.”

Granite has become so popular as a surface material, says Selber, that it is now being imported from dozens of countries in hundreds of varieties, some of which may emit radon and radiation at levels higher than what the EPA considers safe.

BuildClean’s privately funded research includes 200 homes in Houston and laboratory testing and is due out next year. “Our goal is to better understand the materials that impact occupant health and what’s in our homes that needs to be cleaned or ­removed,” says Selber.

The Marble Institute of America, a trade association for the natural stone industry, has refuted claims that granite emits harmful levels of radon or radiation. The group cites recent EPA reports that admit the potential for radon emissions, but at levels below what the agency considers hazardous. MIA also is working to develop standards for testing granite surfaces for emissions toward an industry consensus. For more information, visit

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Houston, TX.