Gran­ite coun­ter­tops emit ra­di­a­tion

Home­own­ers con­cerned over health dan­gers of gran­ite sur­faces

The Covington News - - News -

For the past decade gran­ite has been the au­to­matic choice for con­sumers looking for pre­mium nat­u­ral stone coun­ter­tops de­liv­er­ing beauty, style and el­e­gance. Un­for­tu­nately, over the past sev­eral months the main thing gran­ite sur­faces have been able to de­liver for some of its cur­rent and po­ten­tial cus­tomers is grave con­cern. That’s be­cause in homes across the coun­try Geiger coun­ters are mea­sur­ing danger­ous lev­els of radon and ra­di­a­tion emit­ting from gran­ite coun­ter­top sur­faces. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent New York Times ar­ti­cle — “What’s Lurk­ing in Your Coun­ter­top?” — the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency has been re­ceiv­ing calls from radon in­spec­tors as well as con­cerned home­own­ers all over the coun­try about gran­ite coun­ter­tops with ra­di­a­tion mea­sure­ments sev­eral times above back­ground lev­els. Radon is the sec­ond lead­ing cause of lung can­cer af­ter smok­ing and is con­sid­ered es­pe­cially danger­ous to smokers whose lungs have al­ready been af­fected. Chil­dren and de­vel­op­ing fe­tuses are vul­ner­a­ble to ra­di­a­tion, which can cause other forms of can­cer. Iron­i­cally, it’s the suc­cess of the gran­ite in­dus­try that has led to this sit­u­a­tion. Pop­u­lar­ity and de­mand of gran­ite coun­ter­tops has grown al­most ten­fold and so has the types of gran­ite avail­able. In­creased sales and vol­ume has led to an in­crease in va­ri­ety of gran­ite sur­faces avail­able in­clud­ing more ex­otic and stri­ated ver­sions. Ac­cord­ing to the New York Times ar­ti­cle there have been more re­ports of “hot” or po­ten­tially haz­ardous coun­ter­tops in re­cent years es­pe­cially from th­ese more ex­otic types. As a re­sult, some gran­ite own­ers are rip­ping their coun­ter­tops out not will­ing to take any un­nec­es­sary health risks, while other po­ten­tial cus­tomers are seek­ing al­ter­na­tive sur­faces like Quartz and solid sur­faces. “Quartz sur­faces are grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity be­cause they have the ap­pear­ance of nat­u­ral stone, without any of the draw­backs as­so­ci­ated with ma­te­ri­als such as gran­ite,” said Mark Hanna, Pres­i­dent of Leeza Dis­tri­bu­tion Inc., one of North Amer­ica’s lead­ing dis­trib­u­tors of HanS­tone Fine Quartz Sur­faces. In fact, HanS­tone is ac­cred­ited with Greenguard en­vi­ron­men­tal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for low emit­ting prod­ucts. Un­like gran­ite, HanS­tone quartz sur­faces never need to be sealed and emit low to no emis­sions of toxic chem­i­cals into your home en­vi­ron­ment. Hanna said the Greenguard cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is be­com­ing an im­por­tant re­quire­ment for con­sumers looking for pre­mium coun­ter­tops. Quartz is also a non-por­ous ma­te­rial, which means it will not pro­mote the growth of mold, mildew or bac­te­ria. One pop­u­lar brand, Sile­stone quartz, is tak­ing bac­te­ria pro­tec­tion one step fur­ther as the only quartz coun­ter­top avail­able to of­fer built-in Mi­croban (pes­ti­cide) an­timi­cro­bial pro­tec­tion. How­ever, many con­sumers view this ad­di­tional pes­ti­cide pro­tec­tion as more of a health risk than a ben­e­fit. “We’ve had calls from peo­ple who ac­tu­ally can­celled their quartz coun­ter­top or­ders from an­other com­pany and con­tacted our dealers once they dis­cov­ered the coun­ter­tops they se­lected con­tained Mi­croban,” said Hanna, whose HanS­tone Quartz sur­faces are also ac­cred­ited with NSF 51 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. “As a healthy and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly choice, HanS­tone Quartz coun­ter­tops can be used in vir­tu­ally any in­door sur­face ap­pli­ca­tion in kitchens and bath­rooms, in­clud­ing floors, coun­ter­tops, is­land tops and back­splashes.”

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