Design

Published on March 27th, 2009 | by Linda Kincaid, MPH, CIH

13

Granite Showrooms Continue Selling Radioactive Granite

Jupurana Bordeaux in Shiping CrateLast fall, Cathy Woods removed her Jupurana Bordeaux granite counters because they were radioactive.  She did not want uranium ore in her kitchen, and she did not want to breathe the radon gas emitted by the granite.

The showroom that sold Cathy her granite had a new shipment of Jupurana Bordeaux around the same time.  That stone was more radioactive than the granite they sold Cathy. However, sales staff told customers their granite was no more radioactive than soil or water.

We measured more than 500 microR/hour of gamma radiation from a slab of Jupurana Bordeaux on display in the showroom.  At that dose, a person in close contact with the granite for an hour a day would receive 182 millirem of gamma radiation in a year. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recommends that members of the public should not exceed 100 millirem/year above background. No more than 25 millirem/year should come from a single source, like granite counter tops.

That particularly radioactive shipment of Jupurana Bordeaux is no longer at the showroom. The owner told Cathy he sold it to a developer, who was building a large number of homes.

There are several more shipments of Jupurana Bordeaux in the showroom now.  Most of the new Jupurana Bordeaux emitted 50-150 microR/hour of radiation.  One slab emitted over 200 microR/hr of gamma radiation. A person in close contact with that granite for an hour a day would get 73 millirem of gamma radiation in a year, three times the NRC recommendation.

Much of the granite in the showroom is radiologically “quiet”. The majority of the granite in the showroom emitted less that 15 microR/hour of gamma radiation. The radiation doses from those stones would be trivial.

It would be a simple matter for the granite industry to remove problem granite from showrooms and be honest with their customers. But at present, buyers concerned about radiation exposure have no choice but to hire a professional to test their granite for them.

Photo of Jupurana Bordeaux by Linda Kincaid.

Related Articles:

Granite Counters: Uranium Ore In Disguise?

Hostile Granite Showrooms Refuse to Discuss Radiation

Granite Countertops & Radon: What the Granite Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Free Testing for Homes with Exotic Granite

 

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  • Josh

    This is extremely alarmist to the point of absurdity.

    The Marble Institute of America has linked to study after academic study showing lack of evidence when it comes to the radioactive nature of granite.

    The initial alarmist study quoted in the New York Times was paid for by the companies who sell solid surface countertops, granite’s biggest competitor.

    It might be wise to mention this connection if presenting an unbiased opinion is the goal.

  • Josh

    This is extremely alarmist to the point of absurdity.

    The Marble Institute of America has linked to study after academic study showing lack of evidence when it comes to the radioactive nature of granite.

    The initial alarmist study quoted in the New York Times was paid for by the companies who sell solid surface countertops, granite’s biggest competitor.

    It might be wise to mention this connection if presenting an unbiased opinion is the goal.

  • Josh,

    Please see my article “Granite Countertops & Radon: What the Granite Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know”. That article uses data from reputable scientists to refute claims in the MIA report.

    Several peered reviewed studies on the topic are posted on the website for the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists. You might wish to review those studies for “unbiased opinion”.

  • Josh,

    Please see my article “Granite Countertops & Radon: What the Granite Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know”. That article uses data from reputable scientists to refute claims in the MIA report.

    Several peered reviewed studies on the topic are posted on the website for the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists. You might wish to review those studies for “unbiased opinion”.

  • Josh,

    One can only guess from your comments that you are part of the stone industry, well, so am I. The difference between you and I is that I didn’t trust the MIA enough to swallow their previous “studies” nor will I swallow this one.

    For instance, did you know that the MIA study was conducted by a company with zero experience in radiation or radon science? Indoor air quality and BPA type plastic chemicals is about all they are known for publishing papers on. Did you know that they didn’t callibrate their equipment prior to their testing, much less trace it back to NIST standards?

    But despite that, if you will look at section four of that study, you will find that 18 of the 39 stones had a hazard index over 6, which means that those stones could not be sold in any EU country. Or are you refering to their first study, again paid for by the MIA and done by an outsider to the radon and radiation fields? That study claimed that 6 air changes per hour is normal, something done only in TB wards or ICU units. A more likely ACH is .5 to .1 and even less.

    Or are you refereing to the 1995 Langmuir/MIA study? The one that claimed less than one radioactive decay per year from the average granite countertop? I can tell you that I’ve seen samples from actual countertops that gave off two million decays from a six minute test run on our gamma spectrometer. I can tell you that almost any granite countertop will put off 6,000 to 60,000 counts for a six minute run.

    The point being is that the MIA has linked to no studies that were done independently, only those that they financed and controlled. None of their studies were published in any scientific journal after peer reveiw, without which, no credible scientist will quote them in another study.

    And what study is this that you claim was quoted in the NY Times story? The first study that was partially funded by a grant to the New York State Health Department came out just a few days ago in Health Physics Journal. There was no study mentioned in the NY Times story. And funded by a solid surface company? No, but Sensa and C & C North America, one of the largest granite importers in the U.S. did partially fund a non profit group that did help fund the NY study.

    It might be wise to look into your facts before posting. I see four sentences in your post, yet not one single point is accurate. Are you really doing the stone industry a favor by posting easily disproven statements?

    Here is a link to some scientific studies on granite, most are several years old, but the newer studies are just now winding down.

    http://solidsurfacealliance.org/granite-Radon-issues-page-2.html

  • Josh,

    One can only guess from your comments that you are part of the stone industry, well, so am I. The difference between you and I is that I didn’t trust the MIA enough to swallow their previous “studies” nor will I swallow this one.

    For instance, did you know that the MIA study was conducted by a company with zero experience in radiation or radon science? Indoor air quality and BPA type plastic chemicals is about all they are known for publishing papers on. Did you know that they didn’t callibrate their equipment prior to their testing, much less trace it back to NIST standards?

    But despite that, if you will look at section four of that study, you will find that 18 of the 39 stones had a hazard index over 6, which means that those stones could not be sold in any EU country. Or are you refering to their first study, again paid for by the MIA and done by an outsider to the radon and radiation fields? That study claimed that 6 air changes per hour is normal, something done only in TB wards or ICU units. A more likely ACH is .5 to .1 and even less.

    Or are you refereing to the 1995 Langmuir/MIA study? The one that claimed less than one radioactive decay per year from the average granite countertop? I can tell you that I’ve seen samples from actual countertops that gave off two million decays from a six minute test run on our gamma spectrometer. I can tell you that almost any granite countertop will put off 6,000 to 60,000 counts for a six minute run.

    The point being is that the MIA has linked to no studies that were done independently, only those that they financed and controlled. None of their studies were published in any scientific journal after peer reveiw, without which, no credible scientist will quote them in another study.

    And what study is this that you claim was quoted in the NY Times story? The first study that was partially funded by a grant to the New York State Health Department came out just a few days ago in Health Physics Journal. There was no study mentioned in the NY Times story. And funded by a solid surface company? No, but Sensa and C & C North America, one of the largest granite importers in the U.S. did partially fund a non profit group that did help fund the NY study.

    It might be wise to look into your facts before posting. I see four sentences in your post, yet not one single point is accurate. Are you really doing the stone industry a favor by posting easily disproven statements?

    Here is a link to some scientific studies on granite, most are several years old, but the newer studies are just now winding down.

    http://solidsurfacealliance.org/granite-Radon-issues-page-2.html

  • Tim

    Al,
    I have looked at the link you provided. It goes to a site that is Solid Surface oriented.
    I have also looked at the others that you used as examples of Granite companies that funded the studies specifically C&C and Sensa.It looks as if they are in part the same company According to their site “Cosentino is the largest manufacturer of natural quartz surfaces in the world.”
    Seems to me Josh’s statement has some truth.
    the lines are pretty blurred.
    I wish someone would tell me how much granite in my house is going to harm me.
    Thanks

  • Tim

    Al,
    I have looked at the link you provided. It goes to a site that is Solid Surface oriented.
    I have also looked at the others that you used as examples of Granite companies that funded the studies specifically C&C and Sensa.It looks as if they are in part the same company According to their site “Cosentino is the largest manufacturer of natural quartz surfaces in the world.”
    Seems to me Josh’s statement has some truth.
    the lines are pretty blurred.
    I wish someone would tell me how much granite in my house is going to harm me.
    Thanks

  • Tim,

    Sensa is owned by C & C. That is business as usual these days in the countertop industry. Everyone is diversified. Sensa is one of the largest natural stone importers though and what lead up to C & C starting their testing was a request by Lowes for testing prior to selling Sensa in their stores.

    But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume this was all marketing orientated. Under those conditions, regardless of the reasons it started, the topic has attracted some major researchers and they are finding enough of a problem that both AARST and CRCPD have committees considering standards for granite. AARAST is the radon scientists organization, CRCPD is the state radiation officials organization.

    Like I said, Josh used four sentences, all easily proven wrong. Why should anyone consider his points?

    As to your countertop causing you harm, no way to tell till you test it. I highly recomend a radon test and if you can afford one, buy a geiger counter off ebay. You can resell it on ebay after you test.

  • Tim,

    Sensa is owned by C & C. That is business as usual these days in the countertop industry. Everyone is diversified. Sensa is one of the largest natural stone importers though and what lead up to C & C starting their testing was a request by Lowes for testing prior to selling Sensa in their stores.

    But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume this was all marketing orientated. Under those conditions, regardless of the reasons it started, the topic has attracted some major researchers and they are finding enough of a problem that both AARST and CRCPD have committees considering standards for granite. AARAST is the radon scientists organization, CRCPD is the state radiation officials organization.

    Like I said, Josh used four sentences, all easily proven wrong. Why should anyone consider his points?

    As to your countertop causing you harm, no way to tell till you test it. I highly recomend a radon test and if you can afford one, buy a geiger counter off ebay. You can resell it on ebay after you test.

  • Cerf, long after hearing about his death. ,

  • I really love to read articles that have good information and ideas to share to each reader.

  • Ryan Brosch

    This is alarmist and misleading.

    All granite is radioactive. However;

    i. Radiation exposure diminishes quickly with distance. Anyone more than a few inches away is receiving only normal background exposure.

    ii. Just because something is emitted doesn’t mean it is absorbed by the body. There are specific formula used for this.

    iii. Have you flown lately? Then you received much more radiation than your countertops put out.

    iv. Uranium 238, the most common variety, is very stable and has a half life of 4 billion years. Even if there is lots of Uranium in your granite, it isn’t putting out much beta radiation.

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