Granite counter tops are generally seen as a demonstration of high finances by the wealthy.  They frequently are dangerous because they are radioactive, and they emit radon gas.  This phenomenon is something that even the mainstream press has begun reporting.  The E.P.A. and other regulatory agencies have been receiving floods of phone calls from home owners and inspectors about unusually high levels of radiation from granite counter-tops.  As usual, people are urged to ignore the high readings as unimportant, because taking an official stance against radiation in kitchens would also imply that radiation used in modern medicine is also dangerous.  There is a great deal of money to be lost in several industries, in other words.

Some mainstream news sites parrot that the granite counter tops are probably safe, but the variations in radiation levels are extreme.  All granite counter-tops emit a small amount of radiation, but some are far higher than EPA 'recommended amounts'.  Despite the numbers being sometimes higher than EPA-allowable standards, the E.P.A. nevertheless maintains that granite counter-tops should not be a cause for concern.  You see, radiation from counter tops is safe.  It's the good kind of radiation, and it might even cure cancer.  Granite radiation is safe in much the same way that fluoride mystically becomes safe when mixed in drinking water or toothpastes.  It's F.D.A. science, once again.

Yet the EPA recommends that every house get checked for radon levels to, of course, detect how much healthy radiation homes are blessed with.  ABC News exposed that the Environmental Protection Agency does not even have a procedure for checking counter tops, which might explain some of their schizophrenia.  If they do not have any procedure, and presumably have not done any testing of their own, then we must wonder how they can possibly conclude that counter tops are safe.  Since the time of Madam Curie, we have clearly known what radiation exposure does to people.

The Marble Institute of America unsurprisingly claims that granite is completely safe, and distractedly focuses on other (much more negligible) sources of radiation in homes, such as that which "comes from soil or rock beneath the building".  They do admit that some of the newer varieties, particularly exotic kinds, have not been seen before, and are emitting the highest levels of radon gas and radiation.  Again, safety was declared before any investigation.

Famous bio-chemist, Linus Pauling, was one of the primary supporters of ending nuclear testing.  He maintained that radiation damage is accumulative.  Small amounts of radiation over an extended period is just as damaging as being exposed to all of it on the same day.  The human body never truly heals from it, or develops any natural defenses, and we're talking mutagenic damage at the DNA level.  He later won (one of his) Nobel Prizes for his work in convincing governments of the dangers of radiation exposure.  Even tiny amounts of radiation should be avoided whenever possible, and you may not even want to know what microwave ovens, Pepto-Bismol, and commercial mayonnaise do.

We recommend that those with granite counter tops test the radiation and radon levels in their kitchens, to ensure that they are not at increased risks of cancer, birth defects, or a plethora of other health effects that are routinely caused by radiation.


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Sarah Perry
# What is a safe Alternative to GraniteSarah Perry 2010-12-02 13:36
If granite is not a good choice, what would you recommend for use as countertops? We need something you can cut on, and set hot pots on too. Is marble the same as granite? What about wood? (although I don't particularly like the look of wood...)
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Thomas Corriher (Editor-in-Chief)
# Thomas Corriher (Editor-in-Chief) 2010-12-03 08:12
Marble is a completely different stone. We are not aware of any health risks involving marble.
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Rachel Dilly
# all granite has some level of radonRachel Dilly 2012-11-10 11:31
I am a geological engineer so may be able to shed a little light here.

All countertops that are advertised as "granite" countertops are not necessarily granite. It is popularly called granite because most people do not know to ask for basalt, diorite, etc. When consumers buy, for example, black granite they are actually purchasing basalt. The salt and pepper colored granite is actually diorite. And the list goes on. All of these examples are igneous rocks, meaning that they came from a volcanic environment. They are used in kitchens because of their durability. All igneous rocks will have some level of radiation, and there is just no way to get past it.

Cemeteries used to use marble for headstones. If you go to any old cemetery you will see old marble headstones that are barely legible. This is because rain is slightly acidic and leaches minerals away from the stone. This is also why granite is used now instead of marble. Therefore, if you use marble in your kitchen, know that over time it will degrade, specifically from exposure to water. This may take quite some time but maybe not. It depends on the density of the specific marble that you purchase. Also, marble is somewhat porous and becomes more porous through exposure to water. This porosity can hide bacteria, etc.

Therefore, if you would like to avoid radiation and purchase a well made product, purchase stainless steel. It has no radiation and will not degrade over time. Personally, I think stainless steel becomes more beautiful with age.
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Rachel Dilly
# in additionRachel Dilly 2012-11-10 11:35
In addition to my last post, one cannot avoid all radiation. Sunlight qualifies as radiation and societies have lived in volcanic areas for millenia. The issue here is bringing the source of radiation into your house and the unknown effects of living in close proximity to it everyday.
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