Granite Countertop Concerns
I've heard the warnings about issues of radon or radiation from granite which seemed a bit far-fetched to me. But this morning the NY Times had an article about it.Ironically this afternoon I have an appointment to look at granite for our new countertops. Bottom line is, even moderately serious issues are rare, but do occur, and it would be a good idea to have the granite tested before you install it. Apparently some of the newer sources of "unusual" granite (just the type I'd probably pick out) can have significant amounts of uranium in them.
"What's Lurking in Your Countertop"
After researching countertops for several months, I finally made my selection and ordered them 10 days ago. I looked at granite, limestone and quartz, and had a preference for the look of the limestone. After much reading, talking to two microbiologists, and a dealer who sells all three surfaces, I went with the quartz. It's the only one of the three that is certified food-safe, and that was the clincher for me. I also like it that the quartz is mined here in the midwest, and the slabs are fabricated 50 miles from my home.
From what I can tell, it's mostly propaganda being put out by the manufacturers
The times article contains some pretty seriously irresponsible fearmongering,
fails completely to mention the motivation of some of the sources, and contains
some very, very unscientific statements. For example, the quote from Stanley
Liebert, "But I’ve seen a few that might heat up your Cheerios a little,” absolutely
misses the distinction between radiation and radon. Plus they don't really mention
that his job consists of charging people hundreds of dollars to wander around
their house with a $5 radon gas detector and write a little report. Of -course- he
wants to drum up all the business he can.
Even more insidiously, all this fearmongering is being coordinated by an outfit
in Houston that's, essentially, owned by the Silestone company and they've
apparently bought a chemist from Rice University. Note the Houston and Rice
connections in the NY Times article and note how the reporter fails to dig even
a tiny bit beneath the surface. A TV station in Houston did a better job a few
"So who is paying for the BuildClean study? They’re being set up as a
non-profit, and they’re funded with two large donations. The first is
$250,000 from the makers of ‘Silestone.’ They manufacture quartz
countertops, which is a direct competitor to granite. BuildClean is also
getting money from Cambria, another quartz manufacturer. In fact,
Cambria’s marketing director is on BuildClean’s board of directors."
re: Chuckles the Clone
Silestone also sells branded granite called Sensa, so that isn't quite true. There also is no radon without radioactivity so the two very much connected. The truth is ALL granite except for a very few, contains higher levels than the usual background radiation, and there's no amount of radiation that's considered safe. All of it presents risk. If you have higher levels of radon in your home, than even the small amounts from some granites can push you over the allowed levels.
It doesn't matter who funds the study, as long as the results aren't doctored. If you do the research on the net, you will see that this is a legitimate concern brought up by people with scientific backgrounds with no ties to either industry.
It's not really "research" if it's done on the net. But otherwise that sounds good.
Here's one that says,
"The extensive measurements and rigorous mathematical modeling
conducted to date indicate that (i) external doses of ionizing radiation emitted from
granite countertops are well below levels that would pose a health concern and (ii)
contributions from granite countertops to radon levels in homes are lower than
background levels of radon exposure typically found outdoors and indoors. "
Here are the people who did it. Compare and contrast with industry-staffed "BuildClean"
re: Chuckles the Clone
You're right. It's fascinating!
I went back and read what I wrote and it doesn't look like I said
"I have done research on the internet". I think what I said was,
"here is a paper reporting some research a group of people did
and this paper happens to be available on the internet."
Just because both sentences use the word "internet" and the
word "research", that does not make the sentences equivalent.
re: Chuckles the Clone
I'm not doing "research", I'm doing "looking up stuff online".
It's the difference between inventing a new recipe and finding one in a cookbook. What I'm saying is, here's another recipe and from what I can tell it looks likely to produce far better cupcakes.
Anyway, great link! It's really long but the section "Indicators of a Lack of Reasonableness" seems important. One of the main indicators of lack of reasonableness they point out is the presence of the claim, "The products our competitors make are dangerous and bad for your health."
If you notice:
1. The source of nearly -all- claims about granite health danger can be traced back to buildclean.org.
2. buildclean.org is funded by the manufacturers of competing product Silestone.
OK it happened and yes the bell curve extends to infinity. is this cause for enormous concern, yawn. If anyone is concerned get it tested. It's good to know it can happen but as the article says chance of getting hit by lightening are higher.
Goota keep those mice wearing polyester leisure suits from running on the granite countertops.
BTW - jfood agrees with johnb on the lawyer angle. can't wait to see if God is a co-defendent.
We installed Granite Transformations, also an engineered stone, that is made as a cap to go over existing countertops, so there is no messy demolition. We have had it for more than 3 years and are very happy with it. Hot pots and pans and be set directly on it, and it does not require the oiling or other care that some countertop materials do. See http://www.granitetransformations.com/