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drhans

radiation in granite countertops Part2: response

drhans
14 years ago

Response to a recent debate about radiation and radon in granite kitchen counter-tops

On May 8, 2008 radio station KHOU Channel 11 in Houston, Texas released a video that presented a one-sided account of radiation levels in granite and associated radon levels in homes that contain natural granite kitchentops. To support their account they engaged a particle physicist from Rice University to undertake radiation analyses of a number of kitchentops using a portable Na(I) gamma-ray spectrometer.

I have listened and watched the recent debate with some interest and absorbed the passionate, the informed and the uninformed responses that have been presented.

In all these responses there was one very conspicuous void that of a qualified geoscientist who has the scientific and technical background and who has been intimately involved in the stone industry for many years.

The issue of radiation in granite and the emission of radon from the granite kitchen countertops has been raised a number of times over the last 15 years and there seems little doubt that the issue this time was also prompted by the quartz surfaces and plastic industry who are continually attempting to undermine the qualities/virtues of natural stone by misinformation crusades.

By publicly suggesting that kitchen countertops might be radioactive invariably elicits a degree of concern and panic among uninformed consumers. Consumers have neither the means to determine the radiation levels in their homes nor any avenue by which they can extract such information from the fabricators or wholesalers of stone. However, they can purchase relatively cheap radon meters and undertake a crude investigation of the radon gas levels in various parts of their homes.

Before addressing some of the individual issues let me emphasize that the accurate determinations of radioactivity in a stone, the radiation flux and the concentration of radon in the air are not straight-forward and are prone to large errors and subsequent misinterpretations. The values can also be manipulated and grossly overstated.

One of the most significant misinformed statements that can be made in this debate is to tar all granites with the same brush. There are about 2700 "granites" on the world market coming from dozens of countries. In the international stone trade the term "granite" is used very loosely. It is essentially a mercantile term embracing all those stones that have an igneous mode of formation, a high degree of crystallinity, and interlocking textures which resulted from an elevated thermal history that has approached or exceeded the melting point of the rock. The term includes "black granites", true granites, the "general" granites, pearl granites, pegmatites, anorthosites, charnockites, gneisses, migmatites and a number of exotic varieties.

For example, the term "black granite" often causes some consternation among purists, academics and those not intimately associated with the stone industry. The two terms, in the strict sense, are contradictory. Granites in the broad sense are dominated mineralogically by subequal amounts of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase feldspar, which commonly collectively comprise around 90% of the rock and give them a light colour. Relatively small amounts of dark-coloured biotite and/or amphibole provide additional descriptors (e.g. biotite granite). Black granites usually contain little or no quartz, rare alkali feldspar, and typically much more-calcic plagioclase feldspar. Biotite and amphibole are usually present in only small to trace quantities; instead, calcic pyroxene and, less-commonly, Ca-poor pyroxene dominate the ferromagnesian mineral assemblage. Apart from these fundamental mineralogical differences there are many other gross differences between "true" granites and "black" granites, and indeed between any of the broad categories named above.

Basically every occurrence of granite (used from here in the broad sense of the word) is unique. The uniqueness stems back to its mode of formation including the history of the original source material, the chemistry of the magma, the oxidation state, temperature, and both the intrusive and post-intrusive histories of the magma. Once intruded and emplaced numerous geological and chemical processes can subsequently modify the original composition, mineralogy and texture of every granite. Much of the modification is a function of temperature and fluid activity, both of which have naturally occurring gradients. These variations lead to a range of different stones even over the scale of tens of meters. Geologically, young granites tend to be fairly simple mineralogically and texturally compared to many granites that are an order of magnitude older. It is worth noting that most unusual or "different" granitic rock types available on the world market (in terms of colour and texture) are at least Proterozoic or older (generally older than 1.5 billion years).

The idea of conducting tests on a single piece of granite countertop that might have been quarried several years ago from an area in the quarry or other location long abandoned is naïve at best. A value obtained from a test done on one slab does not necessarily become a characteristic of that granite. If a testing regime for radiation on a particular granite type is to ever be conceived it must be done with a rigorous geoscientific control of the granite pluton, its mineralogy and chemistry, and its setting. Without this fundamental geological information the value of any testing is next to meaningless. Even then, any testing that is done might still only be valid for that small section of the quarry.

Another elementary omission from the debate has been any discussion of the mineralogy of the different granites and how this has a bearing on the radiation issues. Reference was made to uranium ore being the cause of elevated readings of radioactivity. Although there was no intention to mislead the suggestion that there is uranium "ore" in a commercially available granite kitchentop is nonsense. If the granite body contained uranium ore it would not be a commercial dimension stone operation. Elevated concentrations of uranium in granite sufficient to be termed "ore" result in very unusual colours and textures (such as those at Roxby Downs, South Australia) in which the radiation has resulted in feldspar that has become almost black.

High localized readings of radioactivity in granite are the result of several possible geological processes. One is from the presence of sparsely scattered accessory minerals such as zircon, allanite, sphene and monazite that are intrinsic to granites. These minerals incorporate small to trace amounts of lanthanide and actinide elements into their lattices. Gradually, the uranium and thorium in these typically sparse minerals decay by various mechanisms and release tiny amounts of radon and thoron. Minerals that constitute uranium ore (mainly pitchblende, uraninite, torbernite) are exceedingly rare in commercial granites.

A second but similar source of radioactivity in granites is in the form of tiny inclusions within common ferromagnesian minerals such as biotite and amphibole. In the former, a range of accessory minerals such as apatite, zircon, thorite and thorianite accommodate most of the actinide minerals whereas the most common inclusion in amphibole appears to be apatite (a calcium phosphate mineral). The concentration of uranium and thorium in these accessory minerals is sometimes expressed by a pleochroic halo that is formed when the host mineral has suffered long-term damage from alpha-particle emissions.

In both these geological situations there is always the possibility for some localized concentration of the accessory minerals. In particular, the way some granites are formed involves the natural concentration of restite (residual) minerals. Where this occurs there could be localized elevated readings of radioactivity. Contamination from and/or partial assimilation of argillaceous country rock (such as mudstone and shale) by the intrusive granite as it forces its way to higher crustal levels can also lead to localized higher readings.

Uranium minerals can also form as a result of fluid activity within or associated with a granite body. It can happen during the formation of the granite, during emplacement of the granite or post-emplacement from external sources. High-level felsic granites may generate fluid activity that is able to scavenge uranium and thorium from the breakdown of some of the actinide-bearing accessory minerals and/or their hosts. Under certain conditions these fluids can permeate through the granite (mainly along grain boundaries) causing alteration of the feldspar to mostly kaolinitic clay and sericitic mica. The uranium and thorium can be adsorbed onto the clays and mica. As emphasized above, where such a geological process can be readily identified, the resulting granite type has become structurally weakened and is no longer a viable commodity for construction or use in the countertop industry.

High levels of fluid can also result in some localized geological "oddities" such as pegmatite. The huge grainsize and spectacular textures are in high demand because of their rarity. Their formation can involve the concentration of rare elements which either become incorporated into the structures of other minerals or, where sufficient, can form large and exotic minerals. If the fluids have scavenged some lanthanide and actinide elements there is a likelihood of creating sparsely occurring minerals containing elevated concentrations that lead to spikes in the level of radioactivity.

The possibility for the introduction of uranium into a granite from an external source must also be entertained. However, where this might have occurred there is clearly a sequence of events that has taken place and it only requires a modest amount of geoscientific research to establish this sequence. The fact that there is a localized high concentration of uranium sufficient to mine in proximity to a granite does not mean that the granite must also be high in uranium. For example, the granite might be 2 billion years old and the uranium deposit only 200 million years old with a geological fault that separates them. Each situation such as this must be evaluated geoscientifically on an individual basis.

At the other end of the "granite" spectrum, namely the black granites such as Indian Jet Black, Black Galaxy, and African Nero Assoluto), the amounts of potassium (40K), thorium (232Th), radium (222Ra), and uranium (238U) are typically much lower than quartz-bearing granite and both the level of radioactivity and consequently, level of radon emission, are very low. If you are concerned at all about radioactivity and radon in your home coming from your kitchen countertop think BLACK. This partly answers a question posed to the Rice University researcher regarding the presence of a broad relationship between the colour of granite and radiation levels. At the quartz-rich (felsic) end of the granite spectrum there is also a crude relationship between granite colour and levels of radioactivity. Because the majority of radiation emitted from felsic granites is from potassium (40K) and not from the uranium (238U) series as suggested by the physics researcher (commonly by a factor of 10) it follows that granites with an abundance of alkali feldspar are generally more radioactive and greater radon emitters than granites poor in this mineral. Most alkali feldspar in felsic granites is pinkish and accordingly many predominantly pink granites (often approaching "true" granites) emit higher levels of radiation than "normal" granites. Weathering and hydrothermal alteration of felsic granites also provide a fairly good correlation between radioactivity and colour because the resulting granite colour is often beige, yellowish or brownish due to the presence of clays and secondary micas (as noted above). Furthermore, because of their mode of origin the felsic granites also tend to concentrate some of the rare elements.

The issue of radon in general and radon in homes has been almost flogged to death. But just to summarize, radon is a daughter product of uranium. It has a half-life of just under 4 days, is inert, is tasteless and odourless, and has a density around 7.5 times that of air. Whereas radon is a daughter product of uranium there is an analogous daughter product (thoron) that is derived from the radioactive breakdown of thorium. Both gases are potentially harmful to humans in high concentrations and over long periods of time. Both are alpha particle emitters which when inhaled or ingested (as gas or dust) can expose sensitive body tissues at both cellular and molecular levels to the particles.

It must be emphasized that in most radon measurements the 220thoron contribution is generally neglected because it is more difficult to measure accurately with common instrumentation, because there is a difficulty in obtaining representative mean values due to as yet poorly understood short and long-term concentration fluctuations, and because of its shorter half-life (about 55 seconds). However, what has been established is that thoron is ubiquitous in our environment and typically contributes to about 25% of the total signal. In some places it may be present in much higher concentrations than radon. Because its presence affects the radon measurement it also affects the dose evaluation.

The conventional wisdom to date concludes that the presence and concentrations of radon and thoron in houses are due to three principal factors, namely (a) lack of ventilation, (b) radon leaking from soil, and (c) radon emanating from building materials. However, there are a number of other very significant factors that directly affect the accurate and/or consistent measurement of radon and thoron. These include:

1. Being gas (and heavy) they are highly mobile because they flow and mix easily with air

2. The concentration and distribution in soil beneath and around a dwelling is often highly variable

3. The concentrations are related to variations in the composition of the underlying rock strata and rock fragments within the soil

4. Differences in the porosity and density of the soil (and even soil type)

5. Variations in the short- and long-term groundwater movement

6. Location and altitude of the dwelling, e.g. near substantial water sources

7. Height within a building and height above the ground level

8. Meteorological fluctuations, and even

9. Diurnal variations

Seismicity may also be a contributing factor to the radon gas flux in some areas.

Given these imposing collective factors how much reliance can be placed on the accuracy of domestic "radon" readings carried out by untrained people with $5-$10 radon meters whose activated films require mailing to a laboratory within a short time? The frenzy to purchase radon meters in Houston and other parts of the US as a result of the initial radio announcement is similar in a way to a clever and successful media stunt in Australia to ban the often deadly chemical dihydrogen monoxide. Dihydrogen monoxide can be highly dangerous in its natural form and is a common component of many dangerous toxins. It is responsible for thousands of deaths each year.

To put this radiation debate into some sort of perspective it is relevant to provide some general information on our radioactive environment (from the National Radiological Protection Board):

 200 million gamma rays pass through the average human every hour

 15 million potassium-40 and 7000 natural uranium atoms disintegrate inside the average human every hour

 30,000 atoms disintegrate every hour in our lungs from the air we breathe giving off mainly α and β particles

 100,000 cosmic ray neutrons and 400,000 secondary cosmic rays penetrate the average human every hour

 Every plane flight contributes a significant Âhit of cosmic radiation to the body (check out the activity of a Geiger counter on a plane)

Also of relevance to this debate of naturally occurring radiation is the fact that radiological/epidemiological effects that can be directly attributable to continuous low level radiation are poorly understood because of the infinite other possible interactions in our complex environment and the intrinsic chemical and physical properties of the numerous relative daughter products of the 238U, 235U, and 232Th decay chains.

It may be of interest to potential consumers of stone that certain varieties of engineered stone (quartz surfaces) consist of a framework of crushed granite particles. Boasting around 93% (by weight) of framework particles, petrographic analyses revealed the presence of the usual radioactive accessories, such as zircon, allanite, sphene and apatite, as well secondary clays and micas. If any studies are to be undertaken they should also include the altered and weathered brownish, granite-based synthetic products which would be expected to yield similar results to most common granites. Any testing authority must be aware that it is important to avoid being presented with only the relatively "clean" quartz pebble based engineered stone because of the inherently low level of radioactivity in quartz.

The synthetic surfaces industry has had a history of advertising misinformation verbally and in their written presentations regarding their own products and their natural stone competitors. An article written in 2005 entitled "Some aspects of engineered stone that are not usually advertised" could not get published in its long version by stone magazines because of the ostensibly potential litigious effects but, more honestly, the potential damage to the hip pocket in terms of advertising. The link below might be of interest. Some aspects might now be out of date because of new (Asian) producers and the inability to obtain samples from other suppliers  especially from the US. A condensed version of the article was released by the MIA as a newsletter. Although it faithfully portrayed the gist of the paper most of the details were omitted.

Another aspect that might be of interest is the movement in about 1985 in Australia to undertake studies of radiation levels and associated radon/thoron gas emissions from both domestic and imported stone. This follows the reported monitoring of stone for these products in Sweden and Canada. The movement fell through because of funding difficulties, because it was deemed unimportant in terms of health issues, and because there was a perception that it might adversely affect a small and fragile, domestic granite industry.

A final note is necessary on the rather ludicrous notion that regular maintenance of granite kitchen countertops (including sealing the surface annually) will in some way influence the radiation flux and radon emissions from that surface.

As for the ill-conceived and impractical idea on the testing of every slab, tile and block of stone that enters into the US and is produced in the US clearly the Rice University particle physicist has little knowledge of the diverse stone industry. All slate would require testing, all sandstone products (because of the possibility of thin beds of natural heavy mineral concentrations), all sand used for construction, the gypsum used to make plaster for walls and ceilings, and every aggregate source that uses its product to make concrete. In almost all dwellings these other construction products far exceed the amount of granite that is used.

A commonly encountered and quite serious problem these days is the function of the testing laboratory and laboratory personnel not only in the testing but also in the interpretation of the data. Laboratories (and that includes many university departments where instrumental testing is carried out) employ technicians who are trained in most aspects of instrumentation and in the conduction of certain tests. They are generally not trained in the understanding of the materials they are testing nor in the interpretation or significance of the results. Instrumentation specialists should limit themselves to the understanding of the instruments that they are using for testing and engage a suitably qualified scientist to assess and interpret the results, even when the testing appears to be straight-forward.

Dr. H. D. Hensel

(HENSEL GEOSCIENCES)

4th June, 2008

Comments (151)

  • jb1176
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Perhaps this thread needs to end. There is so much information that a genius would have difficulty sorting it out.

    I am a natural stone lover. I will buy granite, although much more carefully than before, because of the beauty and stabillity of the material.

    I will try to be an educated consumer and have already made plans to have radon testing done in my home in subruban Chicago. I will test before my granite countertops are installed and after the granite tops are installed. I will have tested the slabs at the warehouse before they are sent to the fabricator. But the bottom line is I will have Granite!!!

    I will not have engineered stone because I don't like the look of the material. I agree that it is stable, but it lacks the depth and beauty of real granite. It does stain just like granite, it does scratch, just like granite, and chips are very noticeable and are not easily repaired in engineered stone.

    So I guess if one is a stone lover he is one forever. Damm the torpedos and full speed ahead - I'm getting granite!!

    I will not haveSS

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I will try to be an educated consumer and have already made plans to have radon testing done in my home in subruban Chicago. I will test before my granite countertops are installed and after the granite tops are installed. I will have tested the slabs at the warehouse before they are sent to the fabricator.

    This is the reason I keep coming back to this headbanger.

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  • revans1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I've been thinking about this thread, and how out-of-control it is.

    Bill says radioactivity in granite is possible, but a million-to-one shot. He reaches this conclusion based on the fact that he's been around stone a lot, for a long time, and doesn't (thank God) have cancer.

    *He also smoked cigarettes for 32 years, but we're presumably not to reach the same conclusion about the safety of tobacco.

    Al quotes the EPA as saying that anyone with a granite countertop should check for radon, and act if the reading is over 4pCi/L. He uses this as evidence of the EPA's concern about granite.

    *The EPA thinks everyone, everywhere, should test their homes for radon and act at the 4pCi/L level, no matter what kind of counters they have.

    drhans wants us to believe that it takes years of training and experience in a rock quarry to effectively measure the radioactivity of a piece of stone.

    *Meanwhile, countless people with very little training, in a wide variety of occupations, capably deal with the safety issues related to radioactivity every day.

    Come on, guys. Give us a break. You're all smarter than what you've said here, and so are the rest of us.

  • paulines
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Randy, respectfully, I think you're missing the point.

    I believe we can all give some consideration to the message, but I feel the messenger doesn't have one iota of credibility, due to the many reasons I stated above.

    I believe many of Al's posts are specifically written, not to educate, but to create unwarranted fear. Think about his approach over the last year or so.

    So far, only Dr. Llopes has put forth anything worthwhile-and it's still pretty vague. I'd be willing to listen, absolutely.

  • revans1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Paulines, I'm trying to be sure that I'm understanding you here. Part of the problem with "communicating" in this way, I guess. So, let me seek clarity...no effort here to ruffle feathers.

    You say that I'm "missing the point", and then discuss Al and his history here. You then suggest that you still have an open mind to objective, reasonably presented information. I'm having a hard time seeing where you and I disagree at all, unless you think that I'm not being sufficiently hard on Al. Maybe it is fair to say that I don't see him as "the point". I'd like to get past all this personality-related stuff, and just talk about what, if anything, there is to the health question at hand.

    So, I guess my reply to you would be that if we're both willing to hear out somebody (Llope, hopefully) who is calm, objective, and well-informed, then we agree on what I think is "the point".

    Am I missing something important, as you see it?

    Thanks,

    Randy

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bill says radioactivity in granite is possible, but a million-to-one shot. He reaches this conclusion based on the fact that he's been around stone a lot, for a long time, and doesn't (thank God) have cancer.

    *He also smoked cigarettes for 32 years, but we're presumably not to reach the same conclusion about the safety of tobacco.

    No, you're to reach the conclusion that with all the other risk factors involved, if ANYONE were to come down with cancer as a result of exposure to it, it'd be me. When's the last time you saw a homeowner that had a high exposure rate to the dust from fabrication? Randy, think about the conclusions you're reaching. This makes absolutely no sense that homeowners with granite countertops would be at a higher risk than someone like me.

    Al quotes the EPA as saying that anyone with a granite countertop should check for radon, and act if the reading is over 4pCi/L. He uses this as evidence of the EPA's concern about granite.

    *The EPA thinks everyone, everywhere, should test their homes for radon and act at the 4pCi/L level, no matter what kind of counters they have.

    Exactly. So how is this evidence that granite gives off high levels of radon?

    drhans wants us to believe that it takes years of training and experience in a rock quarry to effectively measure the radioactivity of a piece of stone.

    *Meanwhile, countless people with very little training, in a wide variety of occupations, capably deal with the safety issues related to radioactivity every day.

    Where's that? In hospitals? Where the people who AREN'T trained aren't allowed in certain areas when it's in use? You mean the people who have to wear radiometric badges that get checked once a month to make sure that they haven't had too much exposure by accident, because they can't be counted on to know themselves? THOSE countless people?

    Come on, Randy. Give us a break. You're all smarter than what you've said here, and so are the rest of us.

  • revans1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bill, the only conclusion that I've reached thus far about radioactive granite countertops is that there is a real-enough possibility of there being SOME AMOUNT of them LARGE ENOUGH to create concern that it deserves legitimate scrutiny. As I have said over and over, I'm convinced that there is no need for concern for ALMOST all of them.

    While it's great that you're healthy, it is statistically meaningless. If, God forbid, you do eventually become unhealthy in a way consistent with radiation/radon exposure, that'll be statistically meaningless too. This isn't a question for which you can be a canary-in-the-coal-mine for us.

    The EPA point is intended to show that both strident sides of this "debate" are stretching logic and reason beyond recognition.

    People in medical, mining, manufacturing, power generation, research, and other fields deal with radiation. We can agree to disagree, but drhans has tried to say more than once that only a trained and experienced geoscientist can produce reliable data about this, and I just don't buy it.

    You've said that this issue is settled, in your opinion. For me, it is not. It may well turn out that you're right...if it were up to me, that's how it would turn out. Right now, I have seen information that makes me think the question as I have posed it is legitimate, and I have seen nothing that looks like evidence for a definitive answer from anyone.

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Then we'll just have to agree to disagree. I've seen too many "chicken littles" come along (and not just in this industry) trying to raise false alarms, to get scared when they start screaming the sky is falling. Sorry, but those who think granit's a dangerous material are going to have to do alot better than what you've done to this point to convince me.

  • revans1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Not to belabor the point, but I haven't tried to convince you or anyone else that "granite's a dangerous material". In my opinion, there are legitimate unanswered questions related to possibilities about some small percentage of it, and I'm interested in observing a pursuit of the answers to those questions. You, as I take it, believe that there are no legitimate unanswered questions.

    THAT is the difference between the two of us. We aren't on opposite sides of the question....we're on opposite sides of a debate about the meaningfulness of the question itself.

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Now THAT, I'll agree with.

  • hotgranitekills
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dr. Hans said:
    "I'm quite sure that all of the other readers who have painfully followed this forum have realized that almost all the points you have raised in one way or another are twisted to suit your own agenda and beliefs or are outright fabrications coming from a sick mind. Some advice - stay off forums, stay out of things where you have no knowledge because you add nothing to the discussion and advancement of a serious thread. Go get help - it's quite possible that your unbelieveably bizarre verbal diarrhoea comes from a massive overdose of something - I won't make suggestions."

    I think Dr. Hans is afraid to answer any questions, instead prefering to continue the personal attacks as shown above.

    jb1176,
    I agree 100% with what you wrote. Testing is all that is required, and you are right on the quartz issues in comparison to granite.

    I don't know how anyone thinks I am a huge quartz fan. To me it is a second choice, unless you are thinking black tops.

    But as you can see, Bill and some of the others don't want you to have the right to know about granite needing testing. That is what keeps me coming back to this "headbanger".

    The right to know....

    Randy,
    I appreciate your attempt to bring reason to the debate, but you are missing the EPA point. Prior to mid May, EPA had several FAQs about granite and radon. They said not to worry.

    Now they say, we don't know, but if you have granite countertops in your home, test your home for Radon. They may well recommend all homes be tested, but no one can argue that they did not change their position on granite counters from "don't worry" to "test your home for Radon"

    And I posted the entire email from the EPA geologist, where he said the levels we found would be of concern to some people depending upon exposure.

    He went on to warn us to protect our fabricators when working with that stone. No one can argue that point and retain any crediblity at all. There is nothing to interpret.

    Paulines, back at ya. And when Dr Llope posted, you were one of the ones that ridiculed the man. Anyone can look it up. I believe many of your posts here are written to ridicule instead of inform, matter of fact, I don't remember any time you did add to the discussion. And I see that Revans1 put you gently in your place on this very issue, attacking the man, not the idea.

    Bill,
    I agree somewhat with your position that you would be more at risk than a homeowner. Different exposures though, you are at risk from the majority of the radiation, the Alpha and Beta, internally from inhalation and injestion.

    I understand that you do tile for a living, right? I haven't tested many tiles, but the ones I have tested aren't that bad due to lack of mass. If I tested a pallet, I might change my mind. Gamma in granite seems to be driven by mass, separate a hot spot from a slab and it isn't as hot. For all we know, the hot spots are acting as a reflector, gaining radiation strength from surrounding areas, or more likely, a lot of Gamma is hitting the meter from the side coupled with a hot spot. As I have said before, granite workers are historically more likely to get cancer. Maybe the silica, maybe that and the radiation.

    So, the Alpha and Beta in the dust will affect you more, but you aren't likely to work with hot slabs all the time if you are a granite fabricator. Maybe from 3% to 10%, who knows.

    But, a homeowner with a hot granite countertop is exposed to Gamma radiation every time they come close to the thing, six to eight feet is enough. The radiation meters tell us that and no interpetation is needed. If you know your numbers, Bill, you can read a meter. If not, the higher the shriek and the more it vibrates, the higher the radiation levels detected. They self test each and everytime they start up, then it callibrates itself.

    Bill, these meters are used to keep people safe when working around radiation. They are foolproof and accurate, and a six year old can read one.

    Revans1,
    I admire you for trying but Bill is on record saying that no amout of proof will convince him, and Dr. Hans and Pauline's goal is to discredit instead of addressing the issues.

    We all remember the abuse Dr. Llope took from these posters, you can see that they heap abuse on you for taking a middle position. You've read them questioning Cushty(?), including Bill's vulgar comment.

    Face it, they have no interest in participating in a civil debate on the issues.

    Now, have I ever refused to answer a question? But when I do, I have "unbelieveably bizarre verbal diarrhoea comes from a massive overdose of something" or am "sick" or "twisted".

    Have I once attacked the person? I did ask questions about Dr. Hans objectivity, phrased as a question not a statement, meaning the mind is still open to answers. I reported on what Dr. Hans friend said about him, again asked if this was true. But Dr. Hans won't respond civily, only uses further personal attacks.

    I see this as Bill saying prove it is unsafe and I'll listen.

    I say since we have evidence of abnormally high radiation (Dr. Llope said "alarming"), granite needs to be proven safe before being used, in an inexpensive and quick way.

    Beryberry,
    I see your point. I do hit back, but you gotta admit I don't use the name calling as my weapon of choice. I ask legitimate questions, backed by third party info like Dr. Hans's friend Maurio. And, this isn't a fair fight is it? Last year, there were many more acting like this. Keep in mind that I advocate testing for safety, they advocate no testing till damage has occured.

    I went out and found a way to test cheaply and quickly. I work with scientists several times a week, obtaining samples, digging up answers to trade questions, spending about a thousand a month for travel, equipment, shipping, or buying remants for samples. Sure I benefit from having a front row seat and knowing which granites are safe, which ones need professional testing, and which ones I don't even want to consider using.

    The other side? Well, they don't want you to be able to read this. People like them helped the MIA keep the lid on this for over 14 years, 20 years according to Dr. Hans, yet despite knowing that granite can emit large levels of radiation, none of them said "hey, we better look into this".

    Now, I have never asked anyone to believe what I write, I just ask them to look at the links and see what natural stone sites or the scientists have to say on the issues. I find myself defending not their ideas, but instead having to defend my right to speak.

    Which side is acting in the interests of society and which side is acting in their own interests?

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I see this as Bill saying prove it is unsafe and I'll listen.

    I see this as Bill seeing way too much proof to the contrary, not to mention no proof whatsoever to back up your claim, and yes, it's got to be proven before he'll put ANY stock in it at all. You've got a long way to go.

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    If not, the higher the shriek and the more it vibrates, the higher the radiation levels detected.

    And being that it's not in a controlled evironment, what happens if it's something else in the vicinity of the granite that sets the thing off? Oh well? That's okay-- there's always SS!

  • mary_in_nc
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I just baked chocolate chip cookies. Fresh out of the new oven. Anybody want some? (Dentist says no popcorn. But thanks anyways, i-chic.)

  • paulines
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Randy, thanks for the clarification. Question for you - other than Dr. Llopes and Al, have you heard of anyone else with this same belief or knowledge? I mean where did this idea to test stone come from?

    Mary, thanks for the offer, sounds delish!

  • kevin_ii
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oh I can smell those chocolate cookies... pass them over here!

    I do hope you stayed your distance from your microwave while it was running... hate to see anybody get radiation burns. Have you done away with your cell phone use yet since they cause brain tumors? Don't let your family go anywhere that has wifi connectivity since the RF stuff is killing us all. And please don't let your men in the family use a laptop cause... well you know, the family jewels can be ruined with continued exposure to those laptops.

    Al - Do us all a favor and report the readings from some common household items like a crt, older microwave, cell phone, etc. for some baseline readings so we can all compare them to the stone we are all surrounded with.

    Just saw on the news today that NASA is getting closer with the international space program to get you off this planet with all the nasty gases like radon, methane, etc. There is hope for you Al!

  • paso
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We had granite in the early 90's..we are still here and healthy...come on guys...even tomatoes, mustard whatever can be hazardous...I love granite and would not choose anything else!!! I am not afraid whatsoever!!

  • hotgranitekills
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    "If not, the higher the shriek and the more it vibrates, the higher the radiation levels detected."

    Bill responded

    "And being that it's not in a controlled evironment, what happens if it's something else in the vicinity of the granite that sets the thing off? Oh well? That's okay-- there's always SS!"

    Bill, that is an excellent question. Let me address it cause I firmly believe that once you are exposed to the proof of this matter, you will become an advocate of testing.

    The small Gamma detectors (PM 1703 scintillators) have a small screen on the front. It displays the current reading until the alarm level is reached, then it flashes a nuclear symbol, vibrates, and the audio alarm starts sounding. Of course the digital reading reflects the reading as it climbs, instant reaction to the level of Gamma hitting the crystal inside the meter.

    These things were originally sold for $1,200 each, newer models coming out put these two year old models within our financial reach. They were intended for searching for radiation leaks, very sensitive meters. They are still sold on Pollimasters web site, not outdated, just newer models available. Just like my two year old laptop, dated, but still perfectly functional.

    This alarm level is set by either the radiation tech after linking it to a computer, or it can be set so the wearer can set it. The factory recomends 5.3 as the alarm level, any lower and you have to listen to false alarms, backgound spike from space. Any higher and you might miss what you are looking for.

    After turning the meter on, it runs a diagnostic test, remember people use these to prevent radiation damage, they have to work all the time. After the self test, it reads background for 36 seconds, then calculates the radiation measured and converts counts per minute into micro Roentgens per hour (uR/hr).

    Typical backround ranges from 6 uR/hr to 8 uR/hr if a lot of concrete is around, say a parking lot or in our shop building that has concrete floors, walls and ceilings.

    When we are surveying a slab yard, we wear them on our belts. A hot slab will start alarming the meter from 10 to 20 feet away. One guy from Washington state reported 50 to 60 uR/hr just walking around the slab yard, six times normal background radiation. When a slab needs checking, we just run the meter over the slab slowly, watching the meter, listening to the alarm, or feeling the vibration if we have it set on the silent mode.

    After checking the slab, we write down the reading, subtacting background when we post it in the spreadsheet program automatically.

    So, the background is accounted for. All that is left is the neighboring slabs. If a hot one is found, first we check the backside of the A frame, then check the neighboring A frames. If a Bordeaux, Shivakaski, or one of the Africa stones is nearby, it will affect the reading. Isolating the slab is the only way to get an accurate reading.

    So yes, it is possible for other things in the area to raise the radiation levels, OTHER GRANITE SLABS. Everything else is low level, gravel parking lots will add two or three uR/hr, sometimes nothing if the gravel is quieter than the granite.

    So in the worst case scenario, ANOTHER granite slab will make a reading hot. Regardless, multiple readings of the same stone type recorded will give a range. Once eight to ten are recorded, throw out the high and low, use what is left as an average.

    But much of the testing we do is on small samples, 100# remanants and smaller, sometimes a six inch square or so. That is easily isolated. Only problem is that because of the loss of mass, the reading doesn't represent what a real size granite countertop will emit.

    The samples that have been professionally tested so far are 1 3/8" diameter cores from faucet hole type core drills. The scientists take the samples we provide, do their own survey to find various radiation level spots, then they send the samples out to be cored. Taking a number of cores from different areas, they determine the exact isotope of the element that emitts the radiation. A spectrum is used to identify the exact element and isotope, gathered from scientists working for a 100 years with these radioisotopes. Kind of like looking at mug shots to find a criminal, find an exact match and you know the isotope.

    Once the isotope is know, a correction factor is added or subtracted from the meters reading, giving an exact measurement.

    What we have been told is that OUR meters are under reporting the radiation. Seems radiation over 1 MeV doesn't read on our meters, too high supposedly. That is fine, I would rather under promise and over deliver.

    So there is no such thing as a FALSE reading, the meter just reads what Gamma radiation hits it.

    People don't really know much about radiation, and sometimes what they know is wrong. Everyone has been to the dentist, was draped with the thin lead apron during the X ray. Just fluff to set your mind at ease. One inch of lead will stop 1/2 of the Gamma that hits it, two inches stops 3/4 of the Gamma, three inches stops .875%, four inches stops 93.75% of the Gamma.

    My point is that shielding is near useless in testing or during X rays( same as Gamma rays, just from a different source). Some scientists are equipped with massive, special lead shields to minimize natural background radiation, but for our purposes, the background is just removed from the result.

    The other method we have of testing, the LENi Geiger counter can be hooked to a laptop, allowing the computer to count the "hits". These files are called Data logs. We have data logged about fourty known granites so far.

    Geiger counters count Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, unlike the Scintillators that just count the Gamma. As an example, Four Seasons will read 800 uR/hr in spots, or .8 mR/hr, measuring only Gamma. Reading ALL the radiation with a LENi Geiger counter will run 13.1 mR/hr, 16 times higher than the Gamma only.

    Different meters will be slightly off, different kind of meters will not be comparable. But using one meter to test different granite countertop materials reveals which is high, which is low, good enough for the purpose of selecting a low level granite for a consumer.

  • hotgranitekills
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Pauline wrote:
    "Randy, thanks for the clarification. Question for you - other than Dr. Llopes and Al, have you heard of anyone else with this same belief or knowledge? I mean where did this idea to test stone come from?"

    Now that too is an excellent question, one that if not answered would settle the debate.

    I read your question as asking if anyone else believes that granite can have dangerous levels of radiation. I posted some studies last year, you didn't read them, but I will post the link again. Take the name of the study, google it and find your own copy off the internet if you wish.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/r4x3r84t77114141/

    We have this study on the SSA site, the full study. It says that depending upon whose standards you use, between four and six Chinese granites failed to meet safe standards. The studies last sentence say that the safe use of these commercial granites should be noticed. In other words, put them in places where human exposure is limited like the outsides of buildings.

    Now think about that, six of 20 failed to meet safe standards, 30% of the granites gathered from Chinese stone markets. Currently the Chinese are saying it is down to around 20% of the slabs that fails, they are getting better at reading the blocks before slicing them up.

    This next study is from Saudia Arabia

    http://www.solidsurfacealliance.org/files/Saudia_Arabian_granite_study.pdf

    All but one sample of the 20 granites tested tested safe. Blue Bahea, or Azoles Bahea was considered unsafe. Only 5% of the granites were bad, but that was just 20 samples compared to the previous studies 80 samples tested.

    They said that enviromental monitoring of marbles and granite should be done where humans are exposed to radiation.

    They warned that simple mistakes in name of the granite and country of origin could have serious economical and social consequences in the stone sector. In other words, end the name game in the granite industry to prevent radioactive stone from being slipped in.

    So this study also recomended testing stone used near humans.

    The next study is from Egypt

    http://www.solidsurfacealliance.org/files/Egyptian_Radon_study_PDF.pdf

    It also calls for enviromental monitoring of granites and marbles used where humans are exposed.
    In this study, all the samples met the UN standards, but look at table #3 .40, .59 and .85 were the highest levels. Anything at 1 is at the UN limit. Would you want the one that was at 85% of the safe level or would you want the one that was at 2% of the safe level?

    So despite clearing all the samples, they called for more research and monitoring of granite used near humans.

    This next study was done in Cyprus.

    http://www.solidsurfacealliance.org/files/cyprus_study_on_granite.pdf

    28 samples studied, 25 were under the exemption limit, or too low level to worry about. They used the EU standard of .3 mSv/yr to 1 mSv/yr, below .3 is exempted, above 1 mSv/yr is treated as hazardous enough to require radiation protection. Rosso Balamore and New Imperial meet the 1 mSv'yr limit requiring radiation protection and Cafe Brown clearly exceeds the upper level.

    They do warn that the levels are okay only if used as superficial materials.

    So yes, these studies and many more have already been concluded and they all say to test granite used near humans.

    Build Clean has more studies on their site if you need further proof that this is a worldwide concern.

    Something else you will find if you research. Most of these higher radiation level stone are sold only in the US because we have no laws regarding NORM material like Granite.

    We are the worlds dumping ground for radioactive granite slabs...

    Kevin,

    Your continued use of the cell phone and micro wave radiation is called Argumentum ad nauseam (same argument, over and over again) and it also fits into the catagory of Ignoratio elenchi (Logically nothing to do with the conclusions). You are speaking of electromagnetic radiation, none of those items emit ionizing radiation. That is like asking me to compare the amount of light a stone emits, completely impossible to do a comparison.

    Now you could use an older model smoke detector as an example, but not the items you mentioned.

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Argumentum ad nauseam (same argument, over and over again)

    Hmmmm.......

  • deegw
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Can we take this debate to email? Anyone who was remotely interested in this, except the few people arguing on this thread, is bored to tears by this discussion. As the thread falls off the first page, new posters should be able to do a search if they had concerns about radiation. Although I doubt they will slog through all the technical mumbo jumbo.

  • revans1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Paulines, Llopes was a big development for me, in terms of coming to the conclusion that there was a legitimate question here. My understanding is that he is more than qualified to measure radioactivity in a stone sample, and that he is unaffiliated with any economic interests here. He found a stone countertop that he said he wouldn't want his kids doing their homework on because of the radioactivity that he measured. Not definitive for me, but suggestive.

    Other countries have regulations and standards about this, so the idea of it isn't novel.

    Earlier in this thread, I asked drhans directly: "is any of the granite sold for use as a countertop sufficiently radioactive to create a legitimate health concern?" His direct answer was: "I suspect that there will be some when and if reliable testing is done. Sweden and Canada had sufficient concerns 20 odd years ago".

    When and if reliable testing is done.....I'm now curious enough to say that I'd like to see the outcome of this reliable testing. That's all. All this vehemence on the part of the folks in the business is misplaced, I think. Bill essentially refers to me as "Chicken Little". It would make for a pretty boring kiddie story if Chicken Little ran around saying:

    "There is some sufficiently credible preliminary evidence that a very small portion of the sky may be unstable and possibly subject to some risk of falling. It is too early to draw conclusions, but it does appear to me that a scientifically rigorous examination of this issue is warranted, so that we can measure the extent of this risk, if in fact it exists at all."

  • hotgranitekills
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    deee,
    of course you are right on the technical mumbo jumbo, but would you have me allow the misinformation campaign to continue?

    Let's look at how this thread came to be. A GW reader asked a question about the issue, again the naysayers dismissed the idea till the neighbor of the Houston homeowner showed up and verified this as fact, the countertop was dangerous enough to tear out. Then Dr. Llope ahowed up, spoke to the facts, stood his ground against the stoners that screamed at him, and camly told of his work on the issue.

    Then a couple of posters started in on the riduculing, other posters asked them to stop, to go away if they found the issue lacking.

    Dr. Lloppe had his fill of the abuse, people questioning his motivations, so he stopped posting. Instead he is going to publish the info.

    Seein a chance to destroy a reputation, Dr. Hans starts this thread questioning Dr. Llopes info. He in turn is questioned by me and others.

    But, Dr. Hans won't defend his opinions. To do so would be futile, instead he resorts to personal attacks on me, like claiming I was a drug user.

    That might work because when you suggest someone is a drug user online, there is no way to prove it is false. How do you prove a negative?

    Always remember that the questions I asked and continue to ask Dr. Hans are easily answered and would further the discussion. His contacts with the stone industry are also fair discussion items.

    My question is how many readers will either not pick a granite because of the uncertainty left in the wake and how many will pick a hot granite that may well have to be removed later, all because a civil discussion isn't possible by the stone industry supporters?

    And deee, think of it this way. You read other sites where people speak to the facts but don't have to defend them. On a thread like this, the positons are attacked and they are defended, so you can see which hold up.

    Now, Dr. Hans, you are on record saying that testers need to watch that they aren't given "clean" pebble based engineered stones that would somehow skew the testing. That coupled with your warnings that engineered stones are misrepresented as having no , pretty much state that you believe that some engineered stones contain radioactivity.

    If you answer only one question, it would be that one.

    Which brands of engineered stones are radioactive?

    Consumers have a right to know and you are the one claiming it.

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Anyone who was remotely interested in this, except the few people arguing on this thread, is bored to tears by this discussion.

    I'm just hoping this thing gets to 150 posts real soon. Here's to helping it along.

  • joanie_b
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ooooh....let me help you along.
    I jest ain't one of them thar smart folks with one of them thar papers from a big school, so this just sounds like a worthless pile of stupid crap or the rantings and ravings of a lunatic to me - take your pick, or both for that matter.
    JMO, take it or leave it, this is idiotic.
    Oh, btw, we're getting templated tomorrow at 9am - woo hoo!

  • revans1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Many, many posts ago on this thread, I expressed the hope that we could avoid acting like 2 year olds.

    Oh well.

  • kevin_ii
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oh well...

  • bluekitobsessed
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Post #130 (approximately)...GWrs held hostage by monomaniac...I swore I wouldn't read this anymore, but here's one last comment on using EPA testing guidelines as a basis to prove anything. Folks, it's the government. The cautious approach is to urge testing of everything. Urging testing is a symptom of (a) our litigious society, in which a gov't agency or large corporation can get sued for concealing facts, and (b) a movement toward "personal responsibility" by some members of our society, which sounds really nice, like taking responsibility for your own Social Security account. If you test and thereafter make an informed decision (here, to put in granite), it's your own decision and you can't blame the government, hire a lawyer, or expect a handout. The fact that the gov't recommends testing of a material does not, in itself, prove that the material is dangerous, or any d*mn thing else. That is not valid support for an argument.

  • hotgranitekills
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well, Bill brought up Seal and Stand, or whatever they call it, so I looked into it. It seems a few morons decided to use an spray can in an enclosed space and decided they were poisoned or something. Looking over the syptoms, about half seem to be stuff that anyone could have from time to time.

    One seemed pretty suspicious, depression. I guess if someone has post kitchen remodel depression, they can sue someone too.

    You know though, none of the effects on that sealer site, linked to Bill's own website, has been proven. I looked at the ingredients and saw little of concern, Propane, Naptha, were the main ingredients. Heck VMP Naptha has been used in the finishing industry for decades, clean up, even used in oil based stain designed for spraying. Used as directed, and even that website said there were warnings on the label to use ventilation, the product shouldn't be as bad as spraying wood stain. Unless you are dumb enough to spray without a mask and ventilation.

    So in essence, the sealer thing is just an excuse to sue some deep pockets over a lack of personal responsibility. I wouldn't let a child come into a place I was spraying in, nor an adult without a respirator.

    So it seems we have hypocrisy present if one is taken to task for warning of a health hazard, one easily solved by testing the material prior to use. I didn't see any radioactive content to the sealer, nor were any heavy metals present in the spray. I saw no scientific studies that said Seal and Spray was linked to those symptoms.

    Why the double standard on these two issues?

    Bluekit,

    Nice personal attack, monomaniac, no one has used that one yet. Even Revans1 has to say a two year old wouldn't know that one. You are unique though, usually add a weak argument to the personal attack.

    But, your argument again falls short. You say that testing is urged by large corporations to limit liability, were that the case here, the MIA and the stone companies would be pushing the testing effort as hard as they could. Not true, they are attempting to hinder the effort, raising money for that very purpose.

    Silestone and Cambria are pushing the testing effort though, voluntarily testing their own product as well, including the Sensa natural stone line. They are doing themselves a favor by finding out any hazards in their products and making other companies step up to the plate and test their products as well. In the end, the consumer wins.

    I do agree with your second point, that once a consumer has been warned to test, or told of the need to test, the decision is on them.

    Glad to see that you accept the EPA's recommendation to test granite countertop homes for Radon. No it doesn't prove that your countertop is dangerous, but it tells you that some granite countertops are dangerous. It does give fair warning of the issue, far better than a month ago when the EPA site did not warn to test if a home had a granite countertop.

  • bluekitobsessed
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Post 131andcounting:
    I hate to get any more political than I already have, but this reminds me a lot of another public debate. Opponents of a well accepted proposition muster every scintilla of evidence in support of a nearly-indefensible position and then demand that the controversy -- that they have just manufactured -- should be explored (or tested) so that consumers can make up their own minds. I'm speaking of the, uh, debate over evolution. IOW, it really doesn't sound like you got my second point, hotgranitekills.

    I'd be more interested to hear (for example) Silestone's and Cambria's testing on long term exposure to resin, environmental impact of engineering an existing natural product, and the like than I would their testing of a material that they know isn't in 99.9% of their or anyone else's stones.

    Can someone please add 19 more posts here quick?

  • sue_ct
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Would it be too bad of me to just post 18 "bumps"?

    Sue

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Sue-- that'll get you banned.

    Al-- If you haven't seen any proof, then you haven't really looked. i know of atleast two deaths, both under almost the exact same circumstances and from the exact same cause that were both attributed to the product, official cause of death being what boils down to chemical pneumonia. It also came very close to killing a 14 year old up and coming high school jock, who even now, 3 years later, only has 25% lung function after coming into a room where his dad was sealing their grout. A respirator isn't enough with this stuff. Even the manufacturer has stated that a positive flow respirator (one hooked up to a pumped air supply) is the only safe way to use the product. How many homeowners do you know that have one of those? Hell, I'll take it a step further- how many PROS do you know that have one? Meanwhile, there's not a thing on the can that states that. In addition, many of the victims WERE using ventilation, with both windows open and fans going. So don't talk crap about something you know absolutely nothing about, mister.

    NOW you're being ignorant.

  • revans1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    * Posted by revans1 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 4, 08 at 23:15

    drhans...is any of the granite sold for use as a countertop sufficiently radioactive to create a legitimate health concern?

    * Posted by drhans (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 5, 08 at 0:09

    revans1

    I suspect that there will be some when and if reliable testing is done.
    Sweden and Canada had sufficient concerns 20 odd years ago

    In case anybody forgot what this thread was about...

  • hotgranitekills
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bill,
    So a product is sold that has some risks, yet they aren't proven yet, but the product is recalled till testing proves it safe?

    And besides selling tons of granite tile over the years, exactly why do you object to testing granite before it is used?

    I don't doubt that the sealer product could possibly have caused some problems, but the entire episode is a parallel to the granite/radiation issue. I was yanking your chain, partly, on the sealer issue.

    Randy,
    we got in a sample today that is generally around 150 to 175 uR/hr Gamma, or 21 to 25 times background radiation levels. A dozen hot spots up to 284 uR/hr, 40 times background radiation levels. And this is a 18" x 72" sample slab.

    Counting all Radiatin with our LENi, which the experts say is not counting anything over 1 MeV, the hottest spots measured 8.1 to 8.6 mR/hr, or 8,600 uR/hr.

    If a small child were to use that spot for their homework for two hours, that would be pretty close to the same exposure from a chest X ray. Maybe 2 1/2 hours at the most.

    Surely this amount of radiadiation can't be dismissed by those on other side of the debate.

    That sample is going to our scientists ASAP, maybe tomorrow.

    Something else we are finding. You find a very hot slab of one type and the next slab yard will have the same type with lower radiation. Beside Juparana Bordeaux and a few others, the high radiation is completely random. Baltic brown is another that will run from 11 to 40, with no outward appearance to show a likely hood of higher radiation. I still think some types of granite can be cleared as reasonably safe, as long as they are checked before fabrication.

    Other recent finds, the EPA at one point was pushing a standard of no more than 15 ur/hr from a single source, a bit higher than the Florida guidlines they helped set up which were at 10 uR/hr for any single ingredient. Basically, anything hotter than your average low level granite would not meet safe standard requirements.

  • solarpowered
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Please pass the popcorn.

  • paulines
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bill deserves recognition as one of the lead driving forces in getting a dangerous product off store shelves.

    Don't even try to put yourself in the same league as him, Al.

    Funny, even Al's own 'proof' (links he furnished), report that only a very small number of samples tested showed any discernible readings, yet it seems every other sample he tests is 'hot'. Further, these 'tests' provide no baseline, nor comparative info - so it's pretty meaningless to me.

    Randy, it will be interesting to see what Dr. Llopes says after he's had an opportunity to expound on his research.

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    So a product is sold that has some risks, yet they aren't proven yet, but the product is recalled till testing proves it safe?

    No, it doesn't have "some risks". It's DEADLY. And yes, it's been proven.

    And besides selling tons of granite tile over the years, exactly why do you object to testing granite before it is used?

    Just for the record, I HAVEN'T sold tones of granite. I've INSTALLED a bunch of it, but personally, I've only sold total about maybe 1000 feet. Now, as for the question, If it would make people feel safer, fine-- give stone shops a geiger counter. I don't believe that'll do a damn thing to help, but so be it. If you're talking about widespread lab testing of every slab that comes out of every quarry, you can go pound sand. my reason for that has already been stated. I see that as nothing more than a way to drive ht price up so far as to put granite out of the market which is just what you want for personal gain. I don't see personal gain as a good reason to go through extensive testing, and quite frankly, I think shop testing is STILL a waste of time and money.

    but the entire episode is a parallel to the granite/radiation issue

    Not even close. If it were, I'd be the first one to demand that safeties be employed. As far as I see, you're blowing smoke because you don't like granite. End of story.

    12 to go.

  • november
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    In the interest of bumping... Bluekit is so right - I used to be a government lawyer, and EPA is just being careful. They recommend all houses be tested for radon, whether you have granite, or corian, or a pet giraffe. I think probably *everything* is killing us, and we'll never know exactly what does it for each of us in the end. Even if you take away all granite countertops, plastic bottles, and meat with antibiotics, we'll find out next year that chemicals in cardboard, or cotton sheets, or wood floors are doing it. We've sort of screwed things up. This has been quite an entertaining thread...

    In the meantime, I love my granite countertops.

  • revans1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm glad some have been entertained. I have not.

    The EPA thing was a red herring from the start. The EPA does not, apparently, have any recommendation for granite owners different from the recommendation that it makes to everyone.

    The "I don't have cancer, so all granite is safe" thing was a red herring from the start. It means nothing.

    The "get rid of all granite" or "paint all granite with the same brush" thing was a red herring from the start. No reasonable person ever did that. I can't find any evidence in this thread that ANYBODY ever did it.

    There are lots of other examples. Everything under the sun gets "discussed", and almost everyone seems to willfully ignore what seems to be the fundamental question that doesn't yet have an answer. And for most of the participants on this thread, it won't matter if an answer ever comes, because they left rationality behind a long time ago in regard to this topic.

    Entertaining, indeed.

  • lisagraz
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    revans 1 and hotgranitekills

    you are the only ones making sense and people have to be irrational not to want to make sure there is no high level radioactive granite in the kitchen. Thank you for making me aware of the dangers because I had no idea my granite countertops (probably from namibia) were anything but an inert rock from the ground. Even if the chance is remote, I am not willing to risk my health just to have a lovely kitchen. Now i can at least check to make sure our granite is safe and radon and radioactive levels normal.

  • revans1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Al and I aren't saying the same thing. The EPA thing, as I have said twice, was grossly misleading at best. Al outruns the data way, way too much for my comfort level.

    I don't know that there are dangers. I only know that I support scientific testing to see if Dr. Llope and drhans are right to SUSPECT that a SMALL percentage of granite sold here is more radioactive than most consumers would want.

  • Ardra
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I came across this cartoon on another site and it reminded me of this thread.

  • luvmyguys
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    revans1- Thanks for being the voice of reason. I'll contribute to the demise of this thread because frankly, I would be surprised if Dr. Llope comes back (or any other scientist with real expertise for that matter). Why would they want to contribute to this mess?

  • azstoneconsulting
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    ardra-

    great cartoon - IMHO - IT pretty much sums up this whole thread...

    This Thread wasn't too bad for a while... that was, unitl
    on or about the 12th of June at 23:02..... HA!!!!

    anyways..........

    I thank Paulines for her words of wisdom and observations in her
    responses to the various agitations.....

    So.........

    What's the next "scare" to come out of Oklahoma City????

    I can only imagine.....

    "Respectfully"

    kevin

    Kevin M. Padden
    FABRICATOR, Trainer and Consultant to the NATURAL STONE INDUSTRY
    www.azschoolofrock.com
    www.naturalstone101.com

  • berryberry
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    please - help this thread die a quick, merciless death - only a few more posts to go

  • bill_vincent
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    you are the only ones making sense and people have to be irrational not to want to make sure there is no high level radioactive granite in the kitchen.

    Lisa, by any chance, do you have a microwave in your kitchen?

    Randy-- testing isn't going to help unless every piece of stone that comes out of the ground gets thoroughly tested, and some moron that just upgraded from working the drive-thru window to working at a stone shop waving a geiger counter probe in front of a slab doesn't constitute testing the rock. REAL testing would add big money onto a surface that's already expensive, and it would put it right out of the market, which is exactly Al's aim. Don't let him fool you. As I said above, if I thought for one minute that there was really something to this, I'd be right alongside Al. I don't want to see ANYONE getting hurt as a result of trying to beautify their home. I just think this is so much hogwash.

    3 more.

  • paulines
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I truly believe that if there was any merit to this radiation biz, the large stone distributors would have capitalized on it by now with their 'environmentally safe seal of approval' and solid surface manufacturers & distributors would be making a heck of alot more noise about this issue.

    Bill, so true. I have a mental picture of some wide eyed, pimply faced kid waving a geiger counter back & forth (probably wetting his pants).

    Thank YOU, Kevin!

  • soupgirl
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Since this thread has deteriorated to the point where it is of no use whatsoever to anyone considering a granite countertop, here's my contribution to its demise.

  • mary_in_nc
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Any popcorn left??

  • hotgranitekills
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well,
    looks like we have one consumer that wasn't buffaloed by the personal attacks, and more remarkably, she had the guts to stand up for her right to know about any risks.

    Paulines, Bill Vincents, and a few others seem to like to proclaim each others crediblity on this issue. How convenient.

    Paulines, I wouldn't put myself in the same leauge as Bill, he no doubt is a very talented tile guy, but doens't know much about radiation or granite. Like you, he has a reputation to uphold, and like you he participated in the installation of a lot of granite over the years. Opposition to this testing effort is all about the money and loss of reputation. After all, what expert wants the public to find out that they really didn't know everything about what they were selling or installing?

    Paulines want to whine about baselines, but measurements are measurements. The simple fact is that today I was measuring a slab that averaged around 5 mR/hr and had hot spots over 10 mR/hr. Think about that, a chest xray is around 20 mR... two hours on a hot spot or four hours just using the kitchen countertop gives you the same exposure.

    There is a difference though, the chest X ray is used to protect your health, there is public good in exchange for the exposure. A hot granite countertop is not any prettier than a low level one of the same type. Where is the benefit?

    And Paulines, Dr. Llope and I stay in touch constantly either through email or the rad forum I got him hooked on. The guy has become a friend of mine and I can tell you that people like you, Kevin, Bill, and Sue are the ones that made him stop contributing. He won't likely come back till comments like your side makes on a constant basis are stopped.

    Bill,
    I still see you as misguided, but basically a decent man on the wrong side from lack of information. Problem is is that you refuse to consider any info but what fits your world view, so there is no help for it.

    Split hairs if you must, but installing and selling isn't much different. I'm not knocking you for what you didn't know before, but from last year on, you should have educated yourself on the issues instead of spending the time and effort to try to squash the discussion.

    Bill, Geiger counters are go/no go devices. They won't give you a extremely accurate reading because of the inefficiencies of the small units, but they are designed to be portable and fast. Designed for the aftermath of a nuclear war, testing food and water for safety didn't require exact levels, just good or bad.

    That is what they can do for the fabricator.

    The EPA stance is not up for interpetation. Prior to mid May, they said not to worry about radiation or radon from a granite countertop. Now they say they don't really know, that some granite can have high levels, that if you have a granite countertop, you ought to test your home for Radon.

    That is not a 180 but it is a 150 degree turn. Once Dr. Llope gets done testing and publishing, the other 30 degee turn will happen.

    NORM regulations are in 33 states, from 5 uR/hr to 30 uR/hr, and I can take any fool that still wants to debate to a slab yard and find two dozen granite types that will be higher than the highest state NORM level.

    Lisagraz,
    thank you for having the courage to stand up to the bullies. There are plenty of safe granites out there, I have reported on some on both here and stone sites, but the other side doesn't dare admit that or they would lose their only effective weapon against the testing effort, using personal attacks to attempt to destroy the messanger.

    You see that Revans1 and I are way closer on the facts than the others, but he can't admit it or the others will stop listening to him as well. The facts are that somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of all granites are a problem. Revans1 gets this, spent time educating himself on the issues, and is now on the opposite side he was last year. It is a wonder the others haven't attacked him more than they have already.

    arda,
    will you ever understand that that cartoon is about electomagnetic radiation not ionizing radiation? Electromagnetic has not been proven dangerous, a small fringe thinks so, but it hasen't been proven. But today I worked cutting samples from a top that was 40 times background radiation, and BEIR VII said that even background radiation caused some cancers. It is open and shut on that issue.

    Luvmyguys,
    it isn't a mess to the stoners, they want this to be a mess. They will continue to smear anyone that dares mention the issue and post distortions along with their personal attacks. It is the only weapon they have cause the facts are against them.

    Bill, again microwaves are not ionizing radiation. Saying that they equate to ionizing radiation from a granite countertop is just plain ignorant. And as always, your argument is that it is too expensive to make sure granite is safe, better to let the consumers take the risk than the stone shops lose a few bucks.

    And some quarries are testing now, and some importers. All the chinese importers brag about their class A granite rating.

    Really, does anyone that has read the posts believe that one side of this debate is not only endangering consumers for personal gain, but has resorted to personal attack and outright lies despite haveing seen data to the contrary?

    And don't think for a minute that when this thread is gone that will be the end of it. People will continue to ask questions, are you going to riducle all of them?