Granite Countertops May Pose Dangerous Health Threat to Homeowners

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Some Types of Granite Emit High Levels of Radiation and Radioactive Radon Gas

Miramar, Fla – March 30, 2009 – There is more and more evidence that certain types of granite used in the making of countertops emit radiation and radon gas at levels exceeding the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) recommended exposure levels. Radon is a naturally occurring, colorless, odorless radioactive gas. It emanates from the ground all over the world, but particularly in regions with soil containing granite or shale. Radon gas is a dangerous contributor to indoor air pollution and according to the EPA is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Although there are currently no regulations concerning radiation levels in countertops, the EPA has been receiving calls from concerned radon inspectors about granite countertops that have radiation measurements several times above that of normal background radiation levels. In an ongoing study being conducted by Dr. William J. Llope, a senior faculty fellow at the T.W. Bonner Nuclear Laboratory at Rice University, early results from testing on many different granite samples show all emit radiation at higher-than-background (normal) levels and a few showed levels 100 times greater than background.

“Obviously this is a matter that concerns all of us in the countertop industry,” said Carl Griffenkranz, Director of Marketing for Granite Transformations. “Since we do use granite pieces in some of the engineered surfaces that we manufacture, we thought we owed it to our customers to have that material tested for radon.”

Ten different samples of Granite Transformations engineered surface material were sent to EMSL Analytical, Incorporated, a nationally accredited radon testing laboratory. The test results on all ten samples showed “no appreciable radon gas concentrations,” while six of the ten samples the laboratory tested showed no detectable levels of radon.

While the majority of granite countertops are considered to be safe, there is a growing concern that certain types of granite may be “hot” and are emitting radiation and radon gas at levels considered unsafe by the EPA. Since there is currently no oversight, standards or testing procedures for the hundreds of different granite types being imported from all over the world, the simple solution is to choose a countertop material like those from Granite Transformations. This engineered material offers the same beauty and durability of granite without the danger of exposing family members to dangerous radon gas.

In a recent article in the New York Times Dr. David J. Brenner, Director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University said the cancer risk from granite countertops, is “on the order of one in a million.” But he went on to add, “It makes sense. If you can choose another counter that doesn’t elevate your risk, however slightly, why wouldn’t you?”

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