Friday, August 1, 2008

Radon Found in Granite Countertops - Updates

I wrote earlier about this New York Times article; following the link provided in the article, I called the radon technologist in my area and asked for a quote of measuring radon on my granite countertop. He was a very nice guy, willing ang able to provide information, and I the details I got from him helped a lot. Here's a summary of what he told me:

There is no standard established for measuring the radon in the granite countertops as there is no technology for doing it. As read in the New York Times article, this is done only for scientific purposes. The thing the technicians do is to measure the radon in the kitchen using tests approved by EPA. Given that I had my house tested for radon already, he said that the test should have picked up the radon from the granite too. Well, by following the EPA recommendations, I had my house tested at the lowest level; so it would be wise to make another test in the kitchen (situated a level higher) and compare the results.

The quote I received was up to $400 to test the entire house (every room) and this was depending on location as well (I live pretty far from the closest certified technician).

In the winter, I used an EPA certified test which costs me about $20. The technician said that it is perfectly reliable to do this again for the kitchen, and after that if I still have doubts, I should go for testing the entire house. (As an aside: nice guy, he never tried to push for a sale, he was merely providing the information).

Before running out for your radiation physicist friend with a Geiger Counter or paying a lot, you can use a simple test and do it for yourself! If you suspect the granite countertop (or the cutting board :), place the test above it.

8 comments:

gnomic said...

You are being scammed. If you wan't to worry about something so minor that you would have better odds of winning the lottery and getting struck by lighting on the same say, go ahead and waste your money. But you really sound foolish. Of course some hack making money is going to tell you you need more test. And to run the test on the most sensitive level - so that it might find something and lead you to buy something you don't need. Here is a fact: you will find radon and other "radioactives" in just about every "natural" rock in minuscule and harmless quantities. If you had take your $400 and spent it on something useful - say shaving a yak, you would have at least been entertained. I believe in green and I believe in safety. I don't believe in stupidity and scams dressed up to separate the suckers from the truth.

I don't believe that you intend to deceive others or that you realize that you are being scammed. Go talk to a real scientist before wating any more of your money and posting more of this nonsense. You will be happier and richer.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article about countertops - I have 2 in my house and of course was half concerned,
but also saw it as another media created hype designed to drive circulation and viewership.
Nonetheless I decided to take the Gamma-Scout geiger counter that's been sitting in a drawer in my
workroom waiting for a future dirty bomb attack, and test my countertops. Guess what?
They weren't kidding - I did find some elevated readings, but just on one section near a corner.
The reading was about 8 times background level and was high enough to set off the ticker.
I called my remodeler to give him a heads-up but I think he figured I was trying to set the
table for a lawsuit, was pretty tight-lipped about the whole thing and didn't want to discuss it.
Well anyway, there's not much I can do about it except to try and stay away from that corner.:)

Lucia said...

Thanks you for your comments.

Anonymous, it is interesting how you found only a corner of your granite emitting radon? Do you mind if I ask you what tests did you use?

Thanks

admin said...

As you are probably very aware, there have been on-going accusations that have been consistently made against natural granite products having the ability to cause cancer, because of the high levels of radon that they have been said to produce. These accusations have been going on for quite a while, and it is time to put them to rest.

Who better to accomplish this, than professionals who strive to ensure the safety, as well as the satisfaction of all customers? The National Stone Restoration Alliance is ready to put accusations to rest. Josveek Huligar, a proud member of the NSRA is willing to conduct a very important test in his own home. This is a test that can ultimately change the world of granite, as we know it.

Huligar plans to have the very slab of granite, which was said to be ‘hot’ and to have contained radon, installed in his own home. The entire process will be on camera no less, for the entire world to see. Before the slab of granite is to be installed, samples will be taken, and the air will be tested in the home, as described by the EPA, and then sent to be evaluated by AirChek ( www.radon.com ), to check for traces of radon and radiation. When this test is complete, the granite will be installed, and then his home will be tested once again to check the levels of radon and radiation. You can monitor this entire process yourself on a public web cam at www.nsraweb.com

The slab being used for this test has been provided by Mr. Tim Scarlata of Atlantic Granite & Marble ( www.atlanticgranite.com ), located in Rochester N.Y. After searching extensively to find the perfect slab for the test, Scarlata was able to locate two slabs of granite that did in fact produce higher than normal readings of radiation. Atlantic Granite & Marble will also be fabricating and installing the counter top while on video for the public to view.

There have been some individuals who have spent large amounts of money on not only the installation of natural granite in their homes, but then they have turned right around and paid tons more money in having the granite removed because of the scare that has been put on society with the radon issues. Huligar, being in the business of ensuring customer satisfaction and quality, also takes this issue very seriously, because the health and well being of his customers are at stake. He plans to do everything possible to ensure the continued safety and reliability of NSRA customers.

You could certainly be seriously hurt, or even killed if granite were to fall on top of you, but at this time, this is the only way that has been proven to cause harm to anyone.

It is the believed that the radon scare is nothing more than marketing strategies, and it has done exactly what it was intended to do, and that is cause fear of using granite in the general public. Huligar and associates of NSRA do not believe this to be true. However, he knows how important it is for the public to see that he stands behind the good name of The Natural Stone Restoration Alliance and their objective to supply clients with the natural beauty of stone, and that every effort will always be taken to do so in a safe manner. To further put the publics mind at rest, solutions to any unfavorable characteristics have already been found.

This test is vital to the natural stone industry, and Huligar is ready to stand up to the test to prove that granite is not harmful to the general public. People need to be able to see these accusations called upon.

The Natural Stone Restoration Alliance (NSRA) has already done their own research, and released their information that looked at both past and present studies, as well as the marketing strategies used by manufacturers that birthed the scare of radon in the home. The findings of this research are quite simply that levels of radon have no significant difference when granite has been installed in a home.

Do not let yourself fall into the trap of letting unproven fears cost you hundreds of dollars, find out the truth yourself by watching the web cam at Natural Stone Restoration Alliance | Home, and let this door be closed once and for all. Viewers can also comment on the research that is being performed at http://www.nsraweb.com/forums/news-5/live-testing-kitchen-radon-before-granite-9010.html

The set up and testing of the hot slabs starts 9/6/2008 at 10am.

The test will be ending September 8, 2008 @ 6:15

Web Site:
http://www.nsraweb.com/forums/news-5/live-testing-kitchen-radon-before-granite-9010.html

Anonymous said...

Lucia,

Don't let the comment get you down. The stone industry is out in force trying to knock this down.

Huligar is an excellent example. The NSRA is a website ran by a bunch of guys repairing stone out of the trunk of their cars.

As an example of their integrity, they actually copied some content off our website, then opened a new site using .com instead of our .org web address, with the intent on misleading consumers searching for information on the internet.

They did find a pretty hot stone, about 142 times background radiation levels. They were pretty gung ho on their test till they did a CO2 test which showed how leaky the home was in the test. No one has heard much from them after that.

We have a test running, 18 square feet of fairly hot granite in an 8' x 8' x 12' tall room built for the test. So far the room has risen to over 10 pCi/L, equivilent to 1 1/2 packs of cigarattes a day.

Here is the link to the ongoing test

http://forum.solidsurfacealliance.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=98

Lucia said...

Anonymous, thank you for your comments; I will look into it!

Anonymous said...

Lucia,

Stan Liebert, the radon tester you spoke to is a friend of mine. You landed in good hands when you found him. I've known Stan since early April or so, great guy.

Get in touch with me through that forum I posted the link to. And thanks for the excellent article on the subject.

Lucia said...

Anonymous, I have no clue about the person you mentioned. I spoke with the person that is certified for the radon testing in my area and what he said is that the test I used for testing the house initially was good enough and basically they are not certified to do more or use different equipment than that certified by EPA. So what I am doing is to use the same test in the kitchen - a thing that will cost me $20 (the cost of the test) and I can do it by myself following the instructions. If I plan to hire a specialist will cost me a lot and he will do exactly the same thing. And I am very careful with the greenwashing - and usually I prefer to use equipment that is certified by a credible institution.