wekick

Granite countertops dangerous?

wekick
May 9, 2008

Did anyone see this? I wonder if there is anything to it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Are granite countertops bad for your health?

Comments (151)

  • luvmyguys

    montalvo-

    Thanks for the link! Can't believe the test kit is only $5.00!

  • w_j_llope

    "pew1 was talking about how the EPA came to these numbers. "

    which is described in detail in that PDF and other sources... yes, these are extrapolations. look, i have no axe to grind here. as i said, i neither endorse or deny those #s.... but, for better or worse, they are what are being assumed by the regulatory agencies when they set safety policies, radiation procedures etc.... if you think their methodology is deficient or misleading - publish!
    take care, cheers,
    bill

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  • revans1

    Bill, I'm back with another question. I've tried to find some clarity with search engine queries, but no luck. I'll say what I don't understand, and if you can either clarify or link me to a site that can, I'll appreciate it.

    I'm still a little stuck on the reference to "stones being sold in the US (that) exceed the EPA limits of 4 pCi/L". Specifically, I'm not sure what it means to say that the stone exceeds 4 pCi/L. I'm understanding pCi/L to be a measure of the concentration of a particular gas in a certain volume of air. I can see how you could measure the radioactivity of the stone, or the "radon emission rate" of the stone (my term, probably makes little scientific sense), but it would seem to me that the "4 pCi/L" measure would depend at least in part on the size of the container of air that the sample is in. A chunk of hot material big enough to create 4 pCi/L radon level in a shoebox might have a neglible effect on the radon level in my house, and one large enough to create a problem in my house would (it seems to me) probably have a neglible effect on the radon level in the Superdome.

    That's the part I'm not able to follow.

  • w_j_llope

    yes, pCi/L implies a volume (as well as a surface area of the radon emanator). i am interested in taking the data at a fixed small volume (standard technique)...
    one then corrects for the excluded volume, and possibly for back-diffusion.

    how that information is then extrapolated to rooms of a certain (larger) size, and how well and how often that air is mixed w/ the air in other rooms, etc etc, are then a question of making additional assumptions. pick a set of assumptions, and you'll get a pCi/L concentration in the assumed room(s)...

    but step 1 is still the measurement of the radon concentration as a function of time in a small "test" volume using very standard analysis techniques.

    and actually, i'm somewhat more interested in the direct radiation anyway, but every aspect of this should be studied in parallel to give a complete picture...

    cheers
    bill

  • mom2lilenj

    Bill, thanks for all this information. This is great stuff! I find radiation and geology VERY interesting, not to mention kitchens which is why I'm here. :)

  • revans1

    flash407, would you mind contacting me through the "My Page" feature please?

  • housepoor2

    Been reading... okay, so more like skimming this discussion and thought I'd stir the pot with a study just released yesterday on this very topic.

  • w_j_llope

    hi housepoor2 - yep - i read that yesterday.

    it is great to see that the MIA is finally acknowledging that granite can emit radon!
    that email from 1995 they had been quoting to date was so vague as to be almost useless. i think this is an excellent turn of events that will really help everyone understand the issues - as it uses much more recent and much more well-described analyses.

    the bordeaux that was studied was quite the emanator indeed! wow.

    the paper uses absolutely standard techniques and analyses. it also nicely goes into considerable detail - giving the hard numbers - which is great.

    my only concerns are in the last few paragraphs. a few assumptions are made there that i don't think are rigorously correct (perhaps 'always applicable' is a better phrase there) when considering a standard modern home. these thoughts do not invalidate the experimental data, which are solid, but could modify the interpretation of the data a bit. we'll discuss it...

    i will post back here a.s.a.p w/ those comments (i am swamped with day job stuff at the moment). but i did want to pop in at least to say how happy i am that all of the various parties are starting to get quantitative.
    this will really help everyone understand the situation much better. excellent development. congrats to the MIA et al.

    cheers,
    bill

  • revans1

    Here's my non-expert take on the study that is on the MIA site:

    A scientist studied 13 different granites used for countertops, specifically to measure their radon output. Twelve had readings that were inconsequential, but the Crema Bordeaux samples did have much higher readings.

    Assume the following:

    A 2000 sf house with 8 ft ceilings (no adjustment for contents)
    A kitchen with 13 linear feet of Crema Bordeaux counter (seems small to me)
    Air circulation that distributes the radon throughout the home
    No exchange of air with outside

    In that scenario, the countertop would be expected to raise the radon level of the home by 0.27 pCi/L. The average indoor radon level is 1.3. The EPA suggests that you consider remediation at 2.0, and suggests that you get remediation at 4.0.

  • revans1

    Bill, don't leave us hanging.......

  • services_huligar_com

    In what seems to be a genuine concern of the effects of radon emissions in residential homes. A certain website from a non-profit organization out of Houston has made it a point to imply without scientific proof, that natural stone could be a major contributor of radon in a household.

    The allusion that seems to be made, that natural stone installed in your home is dangerous to your health is raised repeatedly on the website and in a recent local Houston TV news program.
    Its interesting to note that the two major contributors of this non-profit organization are manufacturers of engineered stone. One of those contributing manufacturers has a marketing executive on the board of directors of this particular organization.


    From what may be perceived on the surface as perhaps another 'going green' ad campaign, seems to be a different slant on the ongoing battle of the engineered stone manufacturers against natural stone.

    Keep in mind that granite as does most natural components found in building material, allows vapors to pass through them that might contain trace amounts of radon. There are very small amounts of uranium found in trace minerals such as biotite in some natural stones. When quarried if a large cluster of biotite is exposed the result initially would be a radon reading. However, once a piece of granite or natural stone exposed to a large amount of uranium rich mineral in the ground is removed from the source and exposed to the air, the radon vapor transmission would weaken drastically and then dissipate. Simply put, think of natural stone as a very dense sponge that allows water, air and yes radon to pass through the stone. Once the stone is removed from the source of radon (the earth) the stone has no radon to filter through it.
    We do endorse Radon testing but to allude that natural stone is a main contributor seems ludicrous.

    Here are some facts about Radon:

    WHERE DOES RADON COME FROM?

    'Radon comes from the natural radioactive decay of radium and uranium found in the soil beneath the house. The amount of radon in the soil depends on complex soil chemistry, which varies from one house to the next. Radon levels in the soil range from a few hundred to several thousands of pCi/L. The amount of radon that escapes from the soil to enter the house depends on the weather, soil porosity, soil moisture, and the suction within the house'.

    HOW DOES RADON GET INTO THE HOUSE?

    'Houses act like large chimneys. As the air in the house warms, it rises to leak out the attic openings and around the upper floor windows. This creates a small suction at the lowest level of the house, pulling the radon out of the soil and into the house.( Just as natural stone filters radon emission as mentioned before.) You can test this on a cold day by opening a top floor window an inch. You will notice warm air from the house rushing out that opening; yet, if you open a basement window an inch, you will feel the cold outside air rushing in. This suction is what pulls the radon out of the soil and into the house. You might think caulking the cracks and the openings in the basement floor will stop the radon from entering the house. However, scientific studies show, it only takes enough unsealed cracks or pin holes in the caulking to equal a hole 1/2' in diameter to let all the radon in. It is unlikely that caulking the accessible cracks and joints will permanently seal the openings radon needs to enter the house. The radon levels will still likely remain unchanged.
    Fortunately, there are other extremely effective means of keeping radon out of your home. Throughout the country, several million people have already tested for radon. Some houses tested as high as 2,000-3,000 pCi/L; yet, there hasn't been one house that could not mitigate to an acceptable level. The difference in reference to natural stone is that one the stone slab is removed from the source and exposed to the atmosphere the radon is vented in the same way ventilation of a house mitigates the radon emissions in the soil.

    Levels of radiation from granite products, which technically are measurable, are in fact, small fractional values of established thresholds for environmental safety. The truth of the matter is that granite is a safe product. Its been used for thousands of years and the relationship between granite and radon has been studied for years and years. How safe is granite? There have been mathematical models developed that show that one could live in an all-granite home or building, including sleeping on granite, for an entire year and still be within very safe levels of exposure.

    Calculations show that, if an average countertop, traps an average uranium concentration of four ppm (parts per million), the concentration of radon that is given off by the countertop into the household air would be 270,000 times less than the level of radon in the outside air. The maximum contact level that you would receive over one year if you were to sit on a countertop all of the time would be about one quarter of the annual radiation from all sources. If you were just a few inches away from the granite (such as when doing the dishes), the dose would be too low to measure.

    To Quote Donald Langmuir, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Geochemistry, Colorado School of Mines, & President, Hydrochem Systems Corp.
    'To show how laughable are the concerns of radon emitted from natural stone, the typical granite countertop in our example will release 7.4 x 10 -7 pCi/L of air. This corresponds to 2.7 x 10 -8 atom decays per second (dps). This represents 0.85 decays per year. In other words, less than one atom of radon is produced by the countertop in one year. This is hardly worth getting excited about. I would suggest that a good way to reduce our exposure to the radon present in outdoor air would be to build an air-tight house out of granite countertops! There are certain properties of rocks that can increase their radon emanation efficiency, or in other words increase the release of radon from a given weight of rock. These are rock properties that maximize the exposure of internal or external rock surfaces to water or air, allowing any radon gas to escape. The author of 'Granite and Radon' argues that such properties, which include rock porosity, fissuring and mylonitization, will increase radon releases. This is probably true, however, a granite with such properties would be too brittle to make into a countertop, and too open to take a polish, and so would not be marketable as a countertop - unless the rock pores were first filled with a chemical sealant. Such sealing would also eliminate any possible radon release problems.'

    In a more recent study that was conducted by L. L. Chyi, a Ph.D. and professor of Geochemistry and Environmental Geology at The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio. Dr. Chyi studied 13 of the most popular granites used throughout the United States as determined by an industry-wide survey. Due to their popularity these 13 granites, are believed to represent up to 85% of the granite countertop market in recent years. The granite types are as follows:

    1. New Venetian Gold, Brazil; medium grained, yellow-beige gneiss with many dark red garnets
    2. Uba Tuba, Brazil; A medium- to coarse grained, olive-green granite
    3. Santa Cecilia, Brazil; A coarse-grained, yellow-grey gneiss with up to pie-sized, red garnets
    4. Tropic Brown, Saudi Arabia; medium-grained, brown granite
    5. Absolute Black, India; black basalt
    6. Tan Brown, India; A black-brown igneous rock with big, shapeless, brown-red feldspar crystals
    7. Giallo Ornamental, Brazil; coarse-grained, brown-yellow granulite with some brown-red garnets
    8. Crema Bordeaux, Brazil; Juparana Crema Bordeaux (Brunello). A coarse- to very coarse-grained, pink to red granite with areas of quartz, alkali feldspar and quite a lot of ore
    9. Baltic Brown, Finland; brown-black granite
    10. Giallo Veneziano, Brazil; medium- to coarse-grained, ochre-yellow to golden-brown, also light pink, gneiss
    11. Dakota Mahogany, USA; medium- to coarse-grained, brown-red granite
    12. China Black, China, a fine-grained plutonic rock
    13. Yellow Star, China, a medium-grained yellow to pink granite

    The testing methodology was designed to measure the amount of radon which each granite type would add to the interior of a 2,000 square foot, normally ventilated home with 8 ft ceilings. The results show that Crema Bordeaux (the most active in terms of radon emissions) would contribute a concentration component of less than 0.28 pCi/L, or less than 7% of the EPA's recommended actionable level of 4.0 pCi/L. This radon amount is well below a level which might cause health concerns. Tropic Brown and Baltic Brown, second and third in radon emanation based upon Dr. Chyis testing, amounted to only 1% of this action level. The other granites tested added almost immeasurable amounts of radon to the house. Radon atoms in pore spaces and fractures are of minimal concern in the case of granite countertops

    Dr. Chyis test results show that the granites that are currently found in the United States market place are insignificant contributors to radon levels in the home. 'Based on the testing results and EPA standards, we can conclude that the most popular granites used as countertop surfaces pose no health threat to homeowners. If proper resealing is applied once a year or at other frequencies determined by the industry, the radon emanation can be further reduced'.

    Daniel J. Steck, Ph.D. also ran a test on interior radon and granite, and this is what he had to say.

    'The average radionuclide contents of your building material samples are similar to other average granite samples and other common earth-derived building materials such as brick and soil. Thus, the amount of gamma radiation emitted from similar masses of these building materials will be approximately the same;

    There is little sample-to-sample variation in the radon family radionuclide concentrations; the radon flux is somewhat larger for the counter-top squares than for the smaller samples. This indicates that the effective diffusion length is only on the order of the thickness of the counter-top samples, i.e. several centimeters. Thus, material thicker than 5 cm (2') most likely will not emit more than the counter-top samples.

    While we feel that health safety is a great concern especially in our homes, for an industry to attempt to gain financially by 'scare tactics' or under the auspices of 'Eco friendly' is reprehensible. We urge the consumer to not be taken in by these alarmist tactics.

  • sue_ct

    Awesome post. :)

    Sue

  • chrismwgl

    We have pictures posted on Flickr captured from our camcorder showing our scintillator readings from a granite slab called Niagara Gold, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/26528580@N06/. Also we have videos posted on YouTube, just search for granite radiation & you'll see our videos, the name is TCSRock78. This slab of Niagara Gold we discovered is processed in Italy but is quarried in Namibia. Namibia is the 5th largest producer of uranium in the world. Forsys Metals operates a uranium mine that by next year will be producing 7% of the world's yellow cake uranium. The stone quarry is operated by Stone Africa. A US based company called G&L Marble has some ownership in a number of quarries in South Africa & Namibia including Stone Africa. There are 12 international companies with current or pending licenses to open quarries in Namibia, go to http://www.mme.gov.na/pdf/licences-dimension-stones-1007.pdf. Forsys Metals has completed a report on the radioactivity & radiation at the Valencia Uranium mine. Within this report you'll be able to see maps detailing the location & borders of the uranium mine. You'll see how close the uranium mine is to current & pending dimensional stone licenses. You can't tell me that uranium stops at the border of the mine. At least the mining company has regulations to comply with regarding radiation but does the granite quarry & stone processors have to comply with radiation standards?
    Also to show that this slab is not unique we measured a slab of Four Seasons granite from Brazil. In one particular spot it read over 800 uR/hr. with our scintillator & 13.1 mR/hr. with our leni & the data logging software. The whole slab averaged about 150 uR/hr. at 6" away. We were told by our supplier of granite that Four Seasons, Bordeaux & Crema Bordeaux all come from the same mountain & are in close proximity to a uranium mine. He is not the supplier of the Niagara Gold. But when we showed him our results of the Four Seasons slab he cancelled an order of a bundle of Four Seasons. He has received support & cooperation from the quarry in Brazil. They will be mapping the locations of uranium mines in relation to stone quarries for him & his customers.
    Also we belong to a group of radiation enthusiasts & one of them went by a slab yard in Tacoma, WA and found a slab that was generally reading about 150 - 200 uR/hr. In one spot it read as high as 1030 uR/hr. or 1.03 mR/hr. with his scintillator. The sales person told him that the name of the material is Savannah or Savana & that it was already sold & waiting for installation. I know the location of the slab yard & the location of the slab within the yard (if its still there).

    Contact me with any questions or if you want documents supporting all of the above information.

  • sue_ct

    Your post does not address anything directly relative to radon measurements in the average home, or other issues:

    There are very small amounts of uranium found in trace minerals such as biotite in some natural stones. When quarried if a large cluster of biotite is exposed the result initially would be a radon reading. However, once a piece of granite or natural stone exposed to a large amount of uranium rich mineral in the ground is removed from the source and exposed to the air, the radon vapor transmission would weaken drastically and then dissipate. Simply put, think of natural stone as a very dense sponge that allows water, air and yes radon to pass through the stone. Once the stone is removed from the source of radon (the earth) the stone has no radon to filter through it.

    or:

    The testing methodology was designed to measure the amount of radon which each granite type would add to the interior of a 2,000 square foot, normally ventilated home with 8 ft ceilings. The results show that Crema Bordeaux (the most active in terms of radon emissions) would contribute a concentration component of less than 0.28 pCi/L, or less than 7% of the EPA's recommended actionable level of 4.0 pCi/L. This radon amount is well below a level which might cause health concerns.

    Going over a piece of stone with a geiger counter may be fun, but it is a long way from evidence of being a major cause of unhealthy radon levels in a typical home, with normal ventilation, especially over time with no continued exposure to the source of the radon in the earth.

    Sue

  • chrismwgl

    Did I mention radon? No. This is about Ionizing Radiation. Which no one has looked into until Dr. Llope expressed concern.
    These exotic granites that are relatively new on the market are as a result of the high demand for unique stones. No research is shown to be conducted on the radiation levels of these new on the market stones.
    This is not about radon, this is Ionizing radiation. Look it up! Did you even bother to read the radiation report from the uranium company? They describe ionizing radiation rather well. You cannot get rid of radiation even if you extract the stone from the ground, it's still there.

  • chrismwgl

    The current federal and state regulations limit workers' doses to 5 rem/year; the limit for an unborn child of a female radiation worker is 0.5 rem/year (500 mR/year); the limit for the general public is 0.1 rem/year (100 mR/year), with provisions for a limit of 0.5 rem/year under special circumstances.

    We were measuring over 7.5 & 13.1 mR/hr. If you spend 2 hours a day in your kitchen & let's say you go on vacation during the year so only 350 days of the year you'd be exposed to 5250 mR/year or 5.25 rem/year for the Niagara Gold slab. If you had the Four Seasons slab in your home it would be 9170 mR/year or 9.17 rem/year. And I realize that these are the hot spots on the granite but I'm sure there are many hot spots in kitchen counters all across America. Fabricators probably never even think to cut them out. We wouldn't have until we got measuring devices to measure radiation.

  • sue_ct

    First of all, you are correct, I did not pay attention to the type of radiation, but yes I did look at the report, it talks about a number of different types of radiation, including radon, which was not a problem. Your post does not say who you are, what your background is, who if anyone you get funding from, it does not show any direct study related to the mining of granite for countertops, and no, not many people are willing to makes leaps of faith about your conclusions related to things are geographically close but not directly studied.

    Give your name, background, the reason for what you are doing and more than hot spots in a single stone, and see what people here that know more than I do about radiation say about it.

    This is from that report:
    "5.1. Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials in the Environment
    The human population is continuously exposed to ionising radiation arising from naturally occurring radioactive materials, i.e. uranium (U), thorium (Th) and potassium
    (40K) and their associated decay chains. These radioactive materials are found throughout the environment, i.e. in air, soil, many types of mineral deposits, dust, ground and surface waters. The levels of radioactive materials and ionising radiation will vary with time and location across the world. All living organisms accumulate these radioactive materials in their cells and organs through the ingestion of water and food."

    The report is NOT on the granite mines producing countertops. Radiation can vary greatly in a small area, hence the phrase "hot spots".

    Dr.Llope that I can see has not reported evidence of large amts of ionizing radiation creating dangerous exposure from the stones he has studied so far, nor does he make conclusions about stones "nearby" to what he has information on that he has not directly tested.

    This from one of he posts above:

    "i am specifically quoting the results from my direct measurements and the peer-reviewed literature." You go much further than that with little backup and the study you cited is not a peer reviewed scientic study of any kind but an analysis of a proposed mine that is not intended to produce countertops.

    "...in fact if you would read my posts, and my writeup, you would see that i specifically state the risk is very low if not negligible in general...." that also from Dr. Llope.

    As opposed your post...

    Sue

  • sue_ct

    One more point I forgot to ask about. How is it that you only report on the stones that measured high and not how many stones were checked before finding one that was high.

    "one of them went by a slab yard in Tacoma, WA and found a [singular, meaning one] slab that was generally reading about 150 - 200 uR/hr. In one spot it read as high as 1030 uR/hr. or 1.03 mR/hr. with his scintillator."

    Does that mean that out of an entire granite yard that person only found a single slab of concern? How many other slabs from the area did NOT register any problem with radiation?

    Sorry, love to ferrett out junk science from good science but I have a wood floor that is not going to lay iteself!

    Sue

  • luvmyguys

    I've been following this thread with interest since we have not yet chosen our counter top. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but it seems as though there are two separate but related issues being referred to. One is the possible (stress on possible) emission of radon gas from granite. The science shows that at high enough levels, radon does increase the risk for lung cancer. The second issue is ionizing radiation produced by radioactive decay of uranium and other radioactive elements that may (or may not) naturally occur in granite. Ionizing radiation can damage DNA, so also carries an increased cancer risk. Both seem to be dose-dependent.

    The question is -how many granites actually produce either radon or ionizing radiation. It sounds like the risk is pretty low and most granites are perfectly safe for home installation. Is this because not all granites contain radioactive elements? I don't know. But I don't consider it a "leap of faith" to conclude that the risk of getting "hot" granite is probably much higher when it is quarried in an area rich in uranium. Apparently, there are a few unlucky homeowners who are getting granite with radioactive hot spots. I wouldn't want to be the homeowner getting either the Four Seasons or Niagara Gold slabs referred to by chrismwgl.

    Why doesn't the granite industry just test the slabs to be sold for residential use? It doesn't seem like a super hi-tech, expensive thing to do (but perhaps I'm wrong?). Then retail stores can advertise the slabs they sell as perfectly safe. All this talk has not really changed my plans to install granite in my own kitchen. But I did order a home radon test kit when I discovered (through a link posted by Bill Llope) that 2 homes in my zip code had tested at unsafe radon levels. And I would also be more likely to purchase granite from a dealer who was receptive to questions and knowledgeable about this topic. Defensiveness somehow strikes me as trying to hide something.

  • w_j_llope

    hi folks,

    i have some comments on the Chyi paper, but let me concentrate on aspects of this issue raised in recent posts here in this thread...

    Huligar
    "Its interesting to note that the two major contributors of
    this non-profit organization are manufacturers of engineered stone."

    i am not supported by buildclean, and could care less what their
    motives are. i was asked by KHOU for an independent scientific
    opinion, and that has been what i have been working on.

    "However, once a piece of
    granite or natural stone exposed to a large amount of uranium rich
    mineral in the ground is removed from the source and exposed to the
    air, the radon vapor transmission would weaken drastically and then
    dissipate."

    you're assuming that their is no uranium ore in the stone itself.
    this is incorrect.

    "The testing methodology was designed to measure the amount of radon
    which each granite type would add to the interior of a 2,000 square
    foot, normally ventilated home with 8 ft ceilings."

    the "normally ventilated" part there cannot possibly be true. 6 ACH
    constantly? people up north would freeze to death in the wintertime.
    (but i should stop commenting on the Chyi paper because i intend
    to comment on that specifically later)...

    "If proper resealing is applied once a year or at other
    frequencies determined by the industry, the radon emanation can be
    further reduced'."

    the proper sealant is permeable to air. see link above. the underside
    of the stone is unsealed.

    "Daniel J. Steck, Ph.D. also ran a test on interior
    radon and granite, and this is what he had to say. 'The average
    radionuclide contents of your building material samples are similar to
    other average granite samples and other common earth-derived building
    materials such as brick and soil. Thus, the amount of gamma radiation
    emitted from similar masses of these building materials will be
    approximately the same;"

    it would be nice to see a link for this comment - i have been talking
    with professor steck myself. as far as i know, he is commenting only
    on the stones he has looked at. i have looked at stones that are
    quite a bit hotter than background (factor of >100). these
    are being sold for use in the US.

    sue_ct in response to chrismwgl

    "Your post does not address anything directly relative to radon
    measurements in the average home"

    that is only partially correct. indeed the geiger counter is
    measuring the direct radiation. direct radiation is a health risk
    (i'll come back to this later in this post).
    also, the majority of the radiation emitted from the stone i've
    studied is from
    the U-238 series. this series results in the long-lived radon.

    so measuring a significant direct radiation rate with a geiger
    counter is not completely irrelevant as you claim. is such a
    measurement directly convertable into a radon emanation rate?
    absolutely not (for many reasons that depend on the stone
    and the geiger counter). but stones that are quiet to a geiger counter
    likewise cannot be emitting radon.

    stones that are very hot according to a geiger counter are
    of interest for two reasons. one, they are very hot, and direct
    radiation is a health concern. two, they are potentially radon
    emanators. geiger counters are useful for simple assessments
    of the radiation. to make more specific statements, one needs
    an energy-resolved measurement of the radiation (what i am
    now concentrating on for stones being sold in the US), as well
    as a radon emanation measurement of the kind prof. chyi did.

    chrismwgl

    "The current federal and state regulations limit workers' doses to 5
    rem/year; the limit for an unborn child of a female radiation worker
    is 0.5 rem/year (500 mR/year); the limit for the general public is 0.1
    rem/year (100 mR/year), with provisions for a limit of 0.5 rem/year
    under special circumstances."

    this brings up a very important point.

    the radiation levels are set for workers and the general
    public separately.

    "workers" (i am a perfect example) are trained every year on the
    risks from radiation exposure and accept this risk becuase they
    are doing research at laboratories for which radiation is present.

    i.e. there is a net benefit from this exposure, the net
    benefit being the basic science benefitting amankind that these
    workers are able to accomplish. each worker is regularly retested
    on the health risks and chooses on his or her own whether to
    accept those risks based on their own assessment of the net benefit.

    the "net benefit" to the general public of radiation exposure at
    a national laboratory (for example the tours we regularly give
    to students that visit on the weekends) is zero. there
    is no net benefit from exposing people to radiation that are unaware
    of the risks involved when they are only on a tour of the lab.

    that is the reason the limits for untrained workers is 100 mrem/year.
    there is no net benefit, and there is no agreement (implicit or explicit)
    on these people's part that being exposed to radiation is O.K. with them.

    do you see where i'm going here?

    if someone has located two stones that they like equally, and one is "hot"
    and the other isn't - there is no net benefit from that person selecting the hot stone. the problem is that this information is not provided
    to the consumer in the first place. indeed, the industry goes to great
    length to swear the risk is exactly zero.

    this statement is too strong.

    it's usually correct. it is certainly not universally correct.

    sue_ct

    "Your post does not say who you are, what your background is,
    who if anyone you get funding from, it does not show any direct study
    related to the mining of granite for countertops, and no, not many
    people are willing to makes leaps of faith about your conclusions
    related to things are geographically close but not directly studied."

    but all of my results will come with such gravitas. i am unsupported
    by the industry or its competitors. i will describe all experimental
    techniques and results in complete and open scientific detail.

    i will also publish.

    "Dr.Llope that I can see
    has not reported evidence of large amts of ionizing radiation creating
    dangerous exposure from the stones he has studied so far, nor does he
    make conclusions about stones "nearby" to what he has information on
    that he has not directly tested."

    just wait. i am taking data on this issue every day. when i have a body
    of results, you will hear about them.

    the activity of some stones is hundreds of times above background.

    i am also measuring the energy-resolved gamma spectra, which
    indicate the relative contributions of the 40-K, U ore, and 232-Th
    series for each stone separately.
    all of these stones are being sold in the US with well-identified
    trade names and quarries of origin.

    ""...in fact if you would read my
    posts, and my writeup, you would see that i specifically state the
    risk is very low if not negligible in general...." that also from Dr.
    Llope. As opposed your post... "

    i stand by that statement, but you're missing the basic point here.
    the industry would have you believe the risk is only that from
    background sources for 100% stones being sold in the US.

    by showing that there exist stones being sold in the US with
    radiation rates several orders of magnitude above background,
    one calls this blanket statement into question.

    i.e. to disprove a theory, a scientist only needs to show verifiable
    defensible scientific examples of where that theory fails utterly.

    sue_ct

    "How is it that you only report
    on the stones that measured high and not how many stones
    were checked before finding one that was high."

    see my comment above. no one here is saying all granite
    is dangerous. quite the contrary. we are collecting evidence
    that disproves the statement that all granite is perfectly safe.

    luvmyguys

    "The question is -how many
    granites actually produce either radon or ionizing radiation. It
    sounds like the risk is pretty low and most granites are perfectly
    safe for home installation. Is this because not all granites contain
    radioactive elements?"

    basically yes. some granites contain very little radioactive elements.
    i have a piece of "Barre Gray" from the rock of ages quarry that
    is absolutely quiet. i have stated many times here (and in the writeup
    based on the published literature) that most stones are quiet.

    some are not. very much not.

    i have a piece of bordeaux that makes my geiger counter go
    ballistic. and i have measured the predominance of uranium
    ore from the gamma spectrum i took from that stone.

    "But I don't consider it a "leap of
    faith" to conclude that the risk of getting "hot" granite is probably
    much higher when it is quarried in an area rich in uranium."

    bingo

    look at the locations of certain granite quarries. see a uranium
    mine nearby?
    it's not unheard of!!!! (brazil, namibia, etc etc)

    "Why doesn't the granite industry just test the slabs to be
    sold for residential use?"

    this is the $64,000 question. if i was selling stone, you can bet
    your tookus that i would be measuring the activity of the product
    i sell. do you think i'd want to risk future litigation when i could
    just as well sell someone a quiet stone that they like just as much?
    it makes no sense to me that any dealer would willingly do that,
    but o.k. - i'm not part of this industry - i admit.

    "And I would also be more likely to purchase granite from
    a dealer who was receptive to questions and knowledgeable about this
    topic. Defensiveness somehow strikes me as trying to hide something."

    well said.

    take care all... cheers,
    bill

  • w_j_llope

    let me add one comment - it's about one of the most beautifully simple
    experiments that changed the world that i know of.

    please don't misunderstand the following - i am
    certainly not equating myself with the giants of science that i mention below.
    but there is a point here that is relevant.
    so bear with me for a moment, if only to learn about what i think is
    about the coolest picture someone ever took with a camera!

    sir isaac newton took the first data on what "gravity" meant in practical
    terms to us in everyday life. he measured the rate by which objects fell
    to the ground and determined a relationship between the mass of the
    object that was falling and it's acceleration due to gravity.
    he needed to invent calculus (which every college student now studies
    in their first year of college) to do it, but, hey, newton was one smart
    cookie. he made a huge number of other contributions as well.
    i would love to have met him.

    the "law" of gravity that he came up with stated that the acceleration
    of an object due to gravity was a function of that object's mass,
    and the mass of the earth (the bigger thing that was providing the
    acceleration field) and some constants, which included "basic"
    constants (9.8 m/s/s) plus the mass of the earth and the square
    of the radius of the two objects.

    this was in 1687.

    for over three hundred years, this was the "law" of gravity. it described
    everyday processes, the motion of planets, etc etc...
    ask any expert of the time, and they'd say it's proven over and over
    again. stop worrying about it!

    then this guy called Einstein came along and said that this theory,
    while generally applicable to objects launched into the air on earth,
    was not generally correct.. he claimed that there were cases where
    this theory broke down, and hence that this theory was not
    universally applicable.

    you can imagine that physicists, and indeed the general public, had
    a very hard time accepting this nutty idea.
    this theory was hundreds of years old for gosh sakes, and had been
    tested in labs all over the earth over and over and over again.

    einstein was saying that very very heavy objects not only have gravity,
    but they in fact warp space-time.

    "warp space-time?!?! what the heck is this guy talking about?!?"
    the establishment said. the public could only rely on the opinion
    of the establishment.

    einstein was saying that very heavy objects can even bend photons.
    photons have no mass. this was as far from sensible in
    newton's picture as one could possibly be!

    Sir Arthur Eddington provided precisely one data point that
    proved the supposition.
    eddington was not trying to prove newton's theory of gravity was
    nonsense for most of the cases in which we encounter gravity.
    he was simply trying to show experimentally that if there is an
    exception to the prevailing theory, then that theory is incomplete.

    (you can use just as well use "incorrect" if you'd like here - that is
    effectively the same statement scientifically)

    so, he travelled to the island of Principe off of africa to photograph
    the sun during the total eclipse of May 29, 1919.
    during this eclipse, the majority of the sun's light was blocked
    by the moon, and using filters on his camera, he could reliably
    measure the relative positions of known stars to good accuracy.

    the stars "moved" when the light coming from them passed close
    to the sun on their way to the earth.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Stanley_Eddington
    see the section "Relativity"

    this was a spectacular and undebatable defense of einstein's new
    theory, that frankly shook the physics community to its core. it
    was reported in newspapers all over the world.

    that one photograph was enough to say the prevailing
    theory was not generally correct.
    the point therefore is finding the exception(s) to the "rule" that
    makes the "rule" not a "rule" anymore.

    i am taking photographs myself. i call them gamma spectra.
    these are from natural stones being sold for use in the US with
    well-identified trade names and quarries of origin.

    i will make available all results and will stand by to discuss them
    openly and without rancor.
    just like eddington, i intend to publish too. just a hobby for me
    mind you, but i am using every bit as much of the scientific
    method as eddington did.

    cheers,
    bill

  • revans1

    Bill, it's good to have you back. I appreciate the scientific approach to falsification (Popper, if I recall correctly), and am intrigued to see what you find.

    I do offer one thought, and I hope that you take this in the spirit in which it is intended. This is an online forum for people who are remodeling their kitchens. While knowing that you found one or two or twenty granite slabs that were sufficiently "hot" to meet some definition of hazardous would be interesting, the really useful information would be to answer the question "Is the granite that I want (or that I already had installed) one of the few that is troublesome?". I realize that you can't answer that specific question for any particular poster here, but I think it will be greatly appreciated if you can offer practical and realistic options for people who have that question.

  • sue_ct

    Bill, did I misunderstand, or were you addressing comments I made directly in response to chrismwgl's post, and mistakenly thinking I was addressing your posts? I did quote your previous posts, but I did not take issue with your studies or the claims you have made, merely contrasted them with those in chrismwgl's post, which I felt was unsupported by the level of evidence he presented, and which he made without providing any information on his own background or possible biases. (Run on sentences are an challenge I have not yet conquered.) His knowledge of who owned the mines and boundaries, the presentation of what appears to be a privately funded assessment of a mine operation rather than scientific findings, and the tone I picked up from his post pointing us to U-tube and flickr recordings from a camcorder, was one sensationalism and political or other bias, not science. I respect science. I HATE sensationalism, politicizing of science, or the use of scare tactics to make a buck.

    FYI, I have no ties to any industry other than health care. I do have a background of working behind the scenes of the litigation and research fields in which various parties supported, conducted, twisted, and profited from research to make a buck. Make claims not supported by your research and I just may call you on it, no matter who you are.

    That is if the mood strikes me. I don't like to get too embroiled for too long any more. Bad for the blood pressure, you know. :)

    Sue

  • w_j_llope

    hi sue_ct
    i think there's still somewhat of a disconnect here.... i hope you will
    take the following comments in the simple sense they are given. i am only
    trying to help wade through a complicated subject. i look forward to
    whatever you have to say from this point on, and will respond as best
    as i can.

    "Make claims not supported by your research and I just may call you on it,
    no matter who you are."

    i completely agree. this is how the scientific method works. any scientist
    fully expects to be "called out" for anything, and in fact they welcome
    the debate. scientists quote their data for peer-review (i.e. this forum, or
    journals), and then they respond to the comments. a discussion ensues.

    learning happens.

    but the base assumption at the start is that all experimental results are
    worthy of consideration, and the subsequent discussion begins with
    everyone initially agreeing to take all new data at face value.

    during the course of any such discussion, it might
    turn out that any particular set of experimental results might suffer from
    large uncertainties, or large backgrounds, or some other effect that (negatively)
    weights the conclusions drawn from these results.
    in this case, the original experimenter either improves the quality of
    his or her data, or not. either way, all results are still relevant, because
    they are actual measurements. higher precision measurements will, on
    balance, carry more weight obviously.

    but when there is no reason
    to assume a priori that a specific data set is flawed, every
    measurement carries precisely as much weight as any other data set,
    and is precisely as worthy of consideration.

    this too is the scientific method.

    looking over the recent parts of this thread, you seem to dismiss chrismwgl's
    comments for several reasons. you appear to be claiming that chrismwgl
    is being sensationalist, or politicizing, or practicing scare tactics.

    but frankly i don't see from anything typed in this thread that this
    has actually happened. chrismwgl quoted results from a
    geiger counter. this is a measurement.
    one can question numerous aspects of this measurement (distance
    between stone and detector? what detector manufacturer?
    how was detector calibrated? etc etc etc).

    but that's not what you did - you could have - and that would have
    advanced the discussion. you instead assumed subterfuge, and questioned
    qualifications, and, it appears, dismissed the result simply because
    you did not know who chrismwgl was.

    friend to friend - this is not how the scientific method works.
    and given no reason to believe otherwise, there is no valid reason
    to initially ignore new data. frankly, if you are going to openly dismiss
    actual measurements, you should make comments that specifically
    point out the deficiency of the new measurement.
    and you should certainly quote your qualifications that
    lend whatever weight that is available to your comments.

    it's only fair. this too is just another aspect of the scientific method.

    so, overall, let's please stop assuming subterfuge when there is not
    necessarily a reason to do so. i too was accused of the same
    in this thread - the accusation was both completely wrong and
    completely a waste of time. no one reading this thread learns
    anything from generic unbased accusations of this kind.

    let's focus on what we know, and what we don't know,
    and let's work together to try to figure out how to learn
    more about what we don't know.

    cheers,
    bill

  • sue_ct

    " Forsys Metals operates a uranium mine that by next year will be producing 7% of the world's yellow cake uranium. The stone quarry is operated by Stone Africa. A US based company called G&L Marble has some ownership in a number of quarries in South Africa & Namibia including Stone Africa. There are 12 international companies with current or pending licenses to open quarries in Namibia, go to http://www.mme.gov.na/pdf/licences-dimension-stones-1007.pdf. Forsys Metals has completed a report on the radioactivity & radiation at the Valencia Uranium mine. Within this report you'll be able to see maps detailing the location & borders of the uranium mine. You'll see how close the uranium mine is to current & pending dimensional stone licenses. YOU CANT TELL ME that uranium stops at the border of the mine. At least the mining company has regulations to comply with regarding radiation but does the granite quarry & stone processors have to comply with radiation standards?"

    Science needs to be unbiased. None of the above has any bearing on the readings done. I believe it demonstrate a political or other motive to the readings taken. Motive and bias are always significant in research. It can and has lead people to skew data, discount data that did not fit their agenda and interpret data in a way that supports preconceived ideas. Science, actual readings included, needs to be put into perspective by those reading them if the those that offer them can't or won't. Conclusions about the readings need to be questioned and not just accepted. Many if not most people never think about what they are NOT being told, and that is how misinformation is spread.

    Neither stone measured was reported to have come from the mine discussed in the report that was linked to in the original post. No information was provided about the number of stones tested to find two that were alarming enough to present here in that post. Does that mean the readings of those two stones are false? No. Do they have ANYTHING to do with a proposed mine in Nambia? There is certainly no information presented indicating that they do.

    There is a difference between having a belief, then going out looking for anything you can find to support that belief, then only presenting the findings that do support your belief, and asking a question and then devising and conducting a study with an open mind to find the answer.

    "It is raining and today is Tuesday, therefore on Tuesdays it rains" Not a very far jump, right? Also wrong. Many assumed relationships have turned out upon closer inspection to not be related at all. My issue is not with the poster presenting readings taken on 2 stones. My issues are with the rest of the post, which is the greatest portion of the post. If you are upset about mines in Nambia processing stone that you think might contain radioactive material, TEST THE STONE FROM NAMBIA. Testing a stone slab from CHINA that is meant to be used as a countertop and then pointing to a "proposed" mine in NAMBIA that is not going to mine stone for countertops, but implying that it provides evidence of anything about a third place in Nambia that DOES mine stone for countertops, with no data to support it is not science.

    Many scientific findings its turns out can never be reproduced by other scientists. Methodology, equipment, user error and bias are only some of possible reasons, but the reasons are not always discovered. Yes, the publishers of those findings sometimes have reputations put into question. Some researchers have also made conclusions that stretch beyond the actual data presented, and sometimes it is while they are being paid high sums of money by laywers or corporations who stand to benefit from it. They tend to have thier reputations in the research community questioned, and I think that is as it should be.

    AGAIN, bias is important, and we have no idea if the readings taken on those stones could be reproduced or not. If you or anyone wants your findings to be accepted and respected, they will have to be verifiable and reproducible as well, and you might even keep and label the stones so others can test them if need be. That is often done in medical research and carries a lot of weight.

    The poster would have gotten a much different response if he/she had posted saying, I tested "x" number of stones from xyz origins, located in xyz places, and one showed this result. A friend tested xyz and also found one that showed a similar result."

    There is and has been a campaign by competitors of commercial products, countertops in the current situation, to stop people from using the competitors products for their own financial gain, citing pseudo science and using scare tactics. It has the potential to cause serious and unnecessary financial harm to others. So far, at least, I am happy to say this has not gone over well on the forum and I hope it never does.

    Anyone presenting "scientific" findings on kitchen forum does so with some motivation, and that motivation probably will be questioned. If the poster in question wants his/her data accepted at face value he/she should submit the data to a peer review journal and see how it stands up to scrutiny. If he/she wants it to be accepted here, they should submit the FULL data and let the readers decide the significance or relationship to their own situation. They are fully capable of doing so.

    Sue

  • rebccah990

    Sue,
    Chriswngl is just remarking that the uranium mines and the stone quarrys are in close proximity. She (I think ) even provides a link to a govt website, perhaps this african govt is in on the scam? I think what she says is very relevant, that apparently a uranium mine must comply with safety regulations but a stone quarry does not.

    You say that ChrisWgl has not connected the stone tested to Africa, but she has. On thursday, may 22nd, she mentions where the stone comes from, and provided a raft of info, including flicker pictures and youtube videos so you could see for yourself! She is saying that she tested the stone from the nambian mine and one from a brazillian mine. I saw no mention of any chinese stone tested.

    You also take her to task for not reporting on the number of safe stones she has found. I might be blond, but I can tell you that I could care less which ones are safe. I want to know which are potentially dangerous.

    Sue, we are blessed to have Dr. Llope and the others here answering questions and wish you would not attack them as you do. Why such anger?

  • chrismwgl

    I re read what I had posted and I did see one mistake I made. There are so many mines in central Namibia that I got the mine wrong. It is actually Rossing Uranium mine & I google mapped it & posted the screen shot on my Flikr, KitDsigner. Also when I realized I was looking at the wrong mine I went to Rossing Uranium's website & found a report where they indicate they intend to expand the current operation to keep up with rising prices & rising demand of uranium.

    Sue, you really need to do more research on this before you post. That's what most consumers would do before they made a decision. The only location for Niagara Gold is the Stone Africa Quarry in Namibia, the one on google maps so conveniently close to Rossing Uranium. According to the Marble Institute, G&L Marble only has interest in the one quarry in Namibia. http://www.marble-institute.com/membership/newsletters/sept2007electronicnews.htm#328885.

    Go to G&L Marble's website & there you'll see Niagara Gold. If you want another video showing high readings from another Niagara Gold I'll post it after Monday. If you want verification from another source that the mine shown on Google maps is indeed Stone Africa I'll post that link on Tuesday as well. I found a short story from a truck driver in which he described in great detail about the location of Stone Africa & it's relation to the uranium mine. I'll post it on Tuesday when I get back to my office & my history file.

    This isn't fear mongering unless Sue, you're afraid of something. You make it seem like only scientists can report their findings. If this is true than most dangerous chemicals or unsafe working conditions would never be known to the public. Consumer's groups & whistleblowers at workplaces have made homes & workplaces safer.

    I am far from biased. I love granite, I think some are quite breathtaking & I would reccommend & help choose a beautiful granite for any of my customers. But I couldn't live with myself if I had sold an unsafe granite to someone.

    More people should know about this because they don't know radiation is there until its measured with an instrument.

  • revans1

    rebccah990, I have read Sue's posts and can't find any evidence that she is angry. She's skeptical, but that's not the same thing.

  • ctkitchenremodel

    Revans is correct. I am not angry, but yes I am skeptical. I am sorry, my brain lost that statement you made, chrismwgl, that the Niagra gold was mined in Namibia. It through me off that your photo was labeled granite made in Italy. I just picked China out of the air trying to make the point that testing a stone from ANYWHERE that is not from the mine in Namibia you are talking about means little. I believe I have mentioned where my skepticism comes from.

    One example of why the specifics are so important. How many slabs of Niagara Gold were there that day? Was there more than one? Did you test any others that were there? Did they all show the same readings? Are there any other types of granite from the same mine and so they all show increased readings? Do all samples of granite taken from mines near uranium mines show increased readings? If not, then the conclusions that it was because they were from the mine near a uranium mine would not necessarily be true. It may be that a small but random percentage of granites have increased radiation levels and it may be that some stones no where near uranium mines also will have a small percentage with high readings. In that case, mapping or avoiding mines near uranium mines would not be productive. It might also give a false sense of security to someone who makes sure the granite they get comes from a mine that is not near any uranium mines.

    I honestly don't claim to know a lot about radiation. I know very little actually other than brief conversations I had a number of years ago with a medical researcher from Yale who was still doing follow up studies on the survivors, children, grandchildren and subsequent residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So I respect the effects it can have but don't deny my lack of knowledge about the different types of radiation or anything else. But you don't have to be knowledgeable about radiation to see that not all the pertinent information was being provided to evaluate the significance of your findings, and wonder why.

    You can also have a lot of knowledge about radiation and little knowledge about research, statistics and probability, or other areas that are just as important to drawing conclusions from a set of data.

    I am very familiar with misinformation campaigns and we already know that they have been tried in this arena and on this topic in the past. I also know sometimes well meaning people jump to erroneous conclusions and then pass on that information. I can't evaluate the source here because no source or real context for the information was provided. I always feel more skeptical of information that comes from anonymous sources.

    I am all for safety and research. I just want it to be done responsibly so workers as well as consumers of granite countertops and other products are safe, but those whose livings depend on it are not hurt unfairly, either.

    If it would be fairer to put your findings in the context of "Hey, I like to test things for radiation as a hobby. I tested 100 slabs of granite and 998 were negative, but two were whoppinly positive and they happen to be mined near uranium mines. I wonder if there is a connection?" Please just say so. If you consider your finding to be more significant than that, please provide some further background and context. That is all I am asking.

    Sue

  • ctkitchenremodel

    You brought to mind the researcher from Yale I mentioned. I am told he is retired now, and I haven't spoken to him in a number of years, but I did Google him and radiation to see what would come up. I don't have the full paper but it is a continuation of his research that I knew about, and it appears that they believe that the increase in lung cancers from uranium miners (which were in THIS country, by the way) were a result of radon and not other forms of radiation. I haven't wished for my old job back very often, but I would certainly love to be able mention this thread to him, ask him what kind of countertop he has and his thoughts on the issue. I am sure it would be interesting and highly educational.

    But anyway, maybe someone wants to see if there are granite mines near the uranium mines in this country, that it would be interesting to test the slabs from.

    By the way, if you have smoked 2 packs per day for 40 or 50 years, it might not be your granite countertops that end up giving you lung cancer. :) But if you want to eliminate any possible cause, again, geta radon test kit.

    If it came to his attention, maybe he would be interested in the issue as a "hobby" in his retirement. :) I am sure he could put together a very reputable study about the health effects of granite countertops. He would never accept funding from parties who stood to benefit from the research, though, I am sure.

    Sue

  • brian.nickleson

    Sue,
    I'd like to join the others that are wondering about your motivations as well. Especially since you seem to have switched screen names from Sue ct to ct kitchen remodel.

    I found your attack on Dr. Llope and the others to be uncivil at best. Perhaps an apology is in order?

  • revans1

    Welcome to the forum, brian.nickleson. First post ever, right?

  • ctkitchenremodel

    I didn't mean it as an attack. I am skeptical as I said. I am in the medical profession, and have explained my skepticism on this issue, I think. I am sorry if they offended you or the posters. I find asking for more information not usually to be offensive, though. They are the same questions I asked about research in the past, directly to those conducting it, and had a very good working relationship with those researchers for years. It was routine when contacting a researcher about about his/her findings, to determine if they had any ties to industries effected by the study. It would not invalidate the findings or prevent them being relied upon as long as the study was designed well, conducted impartially, and interpreted the same way. But we always put those connections out there front and center when using the findings, to avoid any suggestion of hidden bias. Why is asking how many stones were tested, or how many if any of a similar type were negative? It is usually only people not familiar with the type of scrutiny and critical analysis research undergoes that take offense to those types of questions. They are not unusual, I assure you. I am a nurse and I have some background in working with researchers and evaluating studies, as well as experience with seeing how misleading a little information out of context can be. I have said who I am and what my background is, and so has Dr. Llope and Kevin. If someone has a connection to either the Solid Surface or Natural Stone industries, most are upfront about it, and if there is no affiliation, most, myself included, are usually pretty upfront about that, also.

    I switched screen name for one post because I wanted to be able to show someone the responses, if I got any, without having that person bring up all my previous posts. The reason is that the person has done some work for me and I would not want any complaints I may have vented about concerning the renovation process to come up and hurt that persons feelings, esp. since they have overall tried their best to a do good job for me. (But has added tax to the entire job, labor included, which the local tax codes do not seem to support to me. It is an honest mistake I am absolutely sure, if it is one.) I botched that by forgetting to re-sign in under my usual screen name before posting again. Not so brainy, but not so suspicious either. Thanks for asking though, since others probably wondered also, if you did. You can confirm that just by searching the forum, or all the Garden Web forums, or the entire internet for that matter, for that screen name. Those are the only posts you will find. Nothing that I would need to hide.

    If you have questions about my motivations I am happy to answer them.

    I noticed that you just registered. Care to tell us about yourself? Have any other screen names in the past we might know you by? By the way, belated Happy Birthday. :)

    Sue

  • sue_ct

    Oh crap, did it again. Like I said, not too brainy. My computer remembers the screen name and signs me in automatically. I will have to delete that screen name one so it doesn't keep happening, I guess.

    Sue

  • paulines

    Sue, don't sweat it. Several of these 'sky is falling' posters are ss fabricators and/or have support from Dupont. This thread should have been called, 'Follow the money'.

  • revans1

    Sue, welcome back to your real identity:-)

    Good things these folks weren't around last summer and fall, when people actually DID get angry about this topic.

  • sue_ct

    How long do you think it will take before someone decides this thread is not going the way they would like and complains and it disappears?

    Somehow, some people elicit the same type of responses no matter what name they post under. His feelings didn't used to be hurt so easily. Really no offense intended, but watch that camcorder tape again, rather unusual hands for a woman.

    Who has that popcorn? (A little levity?)

    Sue

  • revans1

    And here's the thing. I am now persuaded that the question of whether or not there are at least SOME potentially unsafe (from a radon and/or radiation standpoint) granite slabs being installed today is at least worthy of pursuit. Last year, I was a total skeptic, and I retain what I hope is a healthy level of skepticism. But, I'm very open to realistic measurements taken by qualified people, and to realistic interpretations of those measurements that qualified people may be prepared to make. I don't particularly care who it is, but if some disinterested party is willing to do that work, I sure would be interested in what they have to say.

  • melanie1121

    Oh! Such arguing, such stress, also not good for your health.
    Question: If I am interested in purchasing granite, can I have a color sample tested OR do I have to test the actual slab I am purchasing? Thanks!

  • revans1

    I'll offer my opinion, as a consumer non-expert observer who has never had a granite countertop.

    Right now, if I were shopping for one, I'd test the slab. I do think that info may develop to suggest that some colors (maybe lots of colors) are always okay. But, right now, my course of action would be to check the slab that I picked. (As long as I'm offering opinions so far outside my expertise, I'll offer this one too....you probably have about a 95% chance of finding out that your granite has no issue at all).

  • sue_ct

    I agree with Revans, except it is hard to know who has ties to the counter top industry if they refuse to reveal it or say who they are, or if as the lady on TV did, simply refuse to discuss where they get their funding. Obviously the new station who did the original report considering significant as well.

    There really has been no research presented that gives any credible way of determining in advance which of the slabs may have these "hot spots". I would also recommend, again, testing your house for radon before installing the countertop, also. Although radon is more frequently a problem in some areas of the country than others, I am not aware of any that are immune. If you are going to go to measures to make sure you don't get one of what may be a very small percentage of slabs with high readings, it makes sense to make sure you don't already have elevated levels for other reasons. Remember most radon enters the home through the soil. If you are concerned about it I believe it has been said the test is only 5 or 10 dollars.

    Sue

  • chrismwgl

    It's amazing that all these so called "skeptics" have not called for the natural stone industry to do testing & labeling. You leave it up to competitors or consumers?

    Shouldn't the granite industry be held responsible for the material they place on the market?

    Since Sue wants to know my biography, here it is:
    My name is Christina Weigel. I was born in Tracy, Ca. in 1978. I have 2 sisters & 1 brother. I have 7 nieces & nephews whom I love dearly. I moved to Oklahoma in 1998.

    I am a kitchen designer/office manager/sales. I work in a small custom cabinet shop which also fabricates a variety of countertops but its only a fraction of our sales. Our primary focus is on cabinets. But we decided to pick up countertop fabrication because we didn't like waiting for several weeks for the countertops to be installed by other shops. We began fabricating solid surface countertops then ventured into granite & quartz. We definitely like solid surface better than granite or quartz because whatever our employees do it can be repaired. Granite & quartz cannot be easily repaired so we must rely on very skilled fabricators.

    My personal favorite material so far is soapstone.

    I or the shop I work for receives no funding from any countertop industry or company. We barely get by with the revenue that comes in. Any spare time that I have is committed to this matter now that I have seen with my own eyes that there are some granites that are dangerous.

    If we wanted to attack the stone market we'd say that the cheap granites are radioactive. But unfortunately its looking like the opposite is true, its the exotic ones under suspicion. It scares the bejezus out of me to think about what may be in a consumer's home right now under their nose without their knowledge. Now that I know I must do.

    I will not rest until this goes national or the stone industry tests & labels their granite.

  • paulines

    Christina is holding back on us folks. She's Al's (carpentershop) wife/biz partner. Al was banned from gw for his obnoxious, inflammatory, anti-granite rants. It seems the mark-up for ss is waaaay better than the mark-up on stone...follow the $$$ signs guys.

  • sue_ct

    I am truly sorry to hear that you are barely getting buy. It makes it hard to comprehend, though that profit was not a motive in getting into countertop fabrication rather than the wait time. Most business exist for the purpose of turning a profit.

    It is obviously easier to install solid surface as a business owner, since as you said, employee mistakes can be fixed and you don't have to eat the cost of the stone if fabricator makes a mistake. That also makes it more profitable. Very skilled fabricators required by granite are also probably more expensive, decreasing profit. If you went back to my first few posts, you would see I did say it would be a good idea to test all of them. But NOT by those who stand to gain financially from disparaging granite or quartz. Financial gain can come in a variety of ways. If paulines is misinformed, please elaborate. You have a Geiger counter obviously, do you test and label your stones and assure customers that many are very safe, or just do your best to convince them to use solid surface? Only you know the real answer to that and I don't expect you to necessarily be honest about it with us.

    I never asked for unrelated personal information, like how many sisters or brothers you have. Interesting that IF Carptentershop is your husband he is the one you neglected to mention in your family. IF Carpentershop is your husband/business partner, he made it clear before he got kicked off here that felt forced to offer granite due to customer demand, and grudgingly. He also made it clear that he tried his best to stear customers away from granite at all, regardless of Geiger counter readings. So if you happen to feel the same, no I don't consider you an unbiased source of testing results on granite.

    Sue

  • paulines

    Yep, Christina definately works with/for Al. As for being his wife, it's not really relevant. What does matter is the attempted deception that continues to be perpetrated under the guise of a public health threat.

    If you throw enough mud at something, eventually a bit will stick. Al has informed us that stone counters are subject to/most probably will fail (anyone recall the sink rodding thread?); are unsanitary (lots of hoopla over that one); radioactive; and release radon gas, among other things. Keep in mind, that the man continues to sell and profit (albeit at a lower profit margin than ss) off this material.

    So, now we are to believe that Al & Christina (with not an iota of scientific background/experience between them), roam the stone yards with geiger counter (or whatever the radon detection machine is called) in hand, putting their seal of approval on our choice of material?

    I think Dr. Llope's study is a worthwhile one and I don't discount the possibility that there may be a slight number of slabs that aren't suitable for our homes. But to anyone reading this thread, separate the true expert from the posters who imo may have made a poor biz decision (bought into ss fab instead of stone fab) and benefit monetarily by getting into a mud fight.

  • luvmyguys

    Question: Does "ss" stand for soapstone?

    I'm a relatively new GW member and wasn't around for the whole "carpentershop" thing. Without that background, it's meaningless to me if Christina is Al's wife or Al's business partner. Besides, Christina's opinion in and of itself will not convince me one way or another. I prefer to hear all sides and draw my own conclusion.

    sue_ct- You've made a lot of good points about the importance of skepticism when it comes to research. I just think it is important to be skeptical but with an open mind.

    At this point, I'm convinced that at least a few granites do emit radioactivity and/or radon. I'm no expert but from what I've read, I would think that these few granites potentially (please note I said potentially) pose a health threat which might impact some unlucky families who don't know they have a hot slab. These people probably wouldn't have related health problems until years down the road. So far down the road, they couldn't even connect it to the granite they had in the kitchen/bathroom. To illustrate this idea, we have a friend who died of mesothelioma- a cancer that is very closely linked to asbestos exposure. He likely had a significant exposure at some point in his life but he didn't know when or what the source could have been. This is the same kind of deal in my mind. Some granites appear to be radioactive- I want to know that the one I put in my kitchen is not. It seems that the stone industry does have a responsibility here, but I bet they will resist because testing and labeling costs money. Plus, they will have to dispose of hot slabs, which may be some of the more expensive (and probably more profitable) ones. As an earlier poster said, follow the $$$.

    BTW, I have no hidden agenda. I am a stay-at-home mom spending way, way too many hours on my kitchen remodel and GW. I am undecided on my countertops but have not eliminated granite based on this info (though I am tempted to buy my own handheld Geiger counter when I go look at slabs - LOL). I'm very grateful I found this site because I've learned so much here. It's been invaluable.

    One final dumb question- how do you make italics and colored font on here?

  • revans1

    "ss" is "solid surface" in this case, like Corian. (In other circumstances it is "stainless steel", and in others it could be soapstone....to many uses for one abbreviation, I think:-)

    My bona fides: I completed a kitchen remodel last year, and spent a good bit of time here doing research and bouncing ideas off folks. Most of my threads are gone, but my kitchen is in the FKB. We went with Corian for both budget and aesthetic reasons for our contemporary kitchen, but strongly considered granite (and really wanted Alkemi, but couldn't afford it.) I'm in the insurance business, with absolutely no financial connection to any part of the kitchen industry at all.

    I endorse your approach here, luvmyguys. I was here for the last go-round with all of this, and I don't recall it fondly. The bottom line for me now is that there does appear to be a legitimate unanswered question, and we should try to find a legitimate answer, without unnecessary reference to past history or other extraneous matters.

  • chrismwgl

    I wasn't planning on coming back here after hearing what a couple of posters had said about me & my business but I do need to clarify one thing...

    Al & I are very blessed, we have many things to be thankful for. My statement about "barely getting by" was a bit of an overstatement. We are neither impoverished nor wealthy. We run our business with a customer's best interests in mind & heart everyday we open the doors. We spend a lot of $ on the materials going into a cabinet, we spend more $ on our employees, believing that they shouldn't have to work multiple jobs to feed their families & that since we demand perfection for our customers they should be compensated for this demand. And we spend $ on improving our business so that our customers will continue to have high quality cabinets built exclusively for them at an incredible value.

    What I find stunning is that a couple of posters here were responsible for shouting down talk about this subject last year. Al was banned & so they were nearly banned as well. Again they shout down talk about this subject, why they do is beyond me. A couple of them fight like they own the business that's responsible for the Namibian stone imports. Is there a financial stake involved or is it personal?

    What also I find stunning is their hypocrisy. They take what the MIA tells consumers as scripture. Everything that the MIA can manage to put out including research that's not peer reviewed they believe & espouse. Yet when the MIA is called into question the questioners are attacked viciously as only interested in $. And I suppose the MIA is a charitable organization?

    I've got a stunning slab of Four Seasons that will go perfect with your stunning hypocrisy. I'd love to see it in Pauline's kitchen.

    I've noticed Dr. LLope hasn't come back. The duo has managed to run him off. It's a shame.

    In the end we'll see who is right on this subject. When the larger media & the government get involved & customers come forward with dangerous countertops we'll see then if the duo continue to shout & deny. Since last year when they managed to shut down talk about this, how many dangerous countertops were sold? How many are they responsible for?

  • Gina_W

    Noone is shouting here. Long-time posters are providing a healthy dose of skepticism and rational questioning of any potentially highly inflammatory information being put in the middle of our placid forum here. And looking into the background of the posters who post such info is fair game and necessary to get closer to truths. That's all.

    People don't get banned easily here. They are not banned for disagreeing or posting information. They are banned when they are rude, trollish and attack others.

    I don't understand why some folks think their posting here in this tiny little place is going to stem the widely popular tide of granite use in this country.

    That train has left the station folks. Don't be bitter, don't throw flames. Move on for goodness sakes.

  • dmanclassic_yahoo_com

    i have been working with granite for a long time now and i have never heard of anyone getting cancer from granite!! thats just funny,and retarted!! MAN MADE CORIAN, GOD MADE GRANITE, WHO DO YOU TRUST??????????????

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