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Radioactive Granite, Formaldehyde in the Cabinets – Are We Sacrificing Our Health for Our Vanity?

August 28, 2008

What’s Lurking in Your Countertop? – NYTimes.com

The granite, it turned out, contained high levels of uranium, which is not only radioactive but releases radon gas as it decays.

But with increasing regularity in recent months, the Environmental Protection Agency has been receiving calls from radon inspectors as well as from concerned homeowners about granite countertops with radiation measurements several times above background levels. “We’ve been hearing from people all over the country concerned about high readings,” said Lou Witt, a program analyst with the agency’s Indoor Environments Division.

Today I was chatting with a friend. Her kids bought a new home two years ago and have been in and out of the hospital ever since. After months of medical testing they finally tested the house. Turns out the cabinets were emitting fairly high levels of formaldehyde. They are in the process of ripping them out.

We tend to think that “natural” means healthy. As my step-father likes to say, “cyanide occurs naturally in plants, that doesn’t mean I want to eat it”.

The good news is, all of these toxins are relatively easy to test for. But, should I? I know I don’t like throwing my money away on a test that’s probably going to show that there is not an issue.

My best guess is that these “new” concerns will NOT be widespread. That’s the argument, few folks are affected and it will not have a major impact on the consumer. Unless you, or your loved one, happens to be the consumer that gets sick.

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