This post was originally intended for my other site, The Purpose Driven Mom, where I blog all about healthy living and such. I decided to post it here too since it is all about Tha House. 😉
So, you all know we’re building a house, and we are just about ready to move in. The floors are being laid, we have lights and heat, and it looks more and more like a home every day. I am really pleased with all my countertops. This island is my favorite part:
As the granite guys were finishing up the install and smoothing out my seams, my builder – honestly unaware of my commitment to healthy, chemical-free living – casually commented to me that granite emits a carcinogenic gas.
I looked at all my beautiful granite, which comprises every single countertop in my entire home, and wondered how in the heck I could have missed that news. Maybe because I never thought I’d be building a house and installing granite in the first place??
So, you KNOW I did some research, which included browsing through a 182-page document on foreign trade where I learned that Kazakhstan extended its ban on light oil imports until June of 2012 and Russia won’t allow pig imports because of some five-syllable disease potential. But, back to my granite and that nasty radon scandal. Turns out, most of this news came out in 2008, and there hasn’t been much ado about it since. So what was all the hype, anyway?
Granite, being a naturally occurring material (stone) is going to naturally have some uranium, radon, etc in it. As do sand, concrete, clay, bricks, and rocks. As the radon is released, it can poison the air, and breathing it in excessive amounts could of course lead to cancer.
Do not think that I take this lightly. But I’m also not going to take one source’s word for it. So I kept on digging, hoping to find anything written after 2008 that either proved or disproved all the accusations. Accusations, as it turns out, that can be traced back to people who have vested interest in companies that compete with granite countertop producers. Go figure. So where’s an honest mom to turn?
I found this guy who broke it down and linked to some non-partial parties and offered some mind easing solutions for those of us who have a tendency to go off the rails when faced with news like this, especially as it might affect our health and our children’s safety. Basically, even though I have granite scattered throughout my home, I will face more danger from the radon in my brick and my foundation and my driveway than I will from my countertops. The good news is that as the radon (which is minimal) is released from these earthy substances, it dissipates into the air around us, so if our overall air quality is good, then our worries are nil. Granite that seems to produce the most radon and radiation comes from more exotic countries and usually is in the higher price ranges because of the cost of importing it. Additionally, the EPA suggests low-cost test kits for homeowners who are concerned about the radon exposure in granite countertops.
So while I will completely wig out about hormone replicators in beauty products and petroleum by-products in our foods, I’m not going to sweat my countertops so much. My research and the lack of current arguments against granite pretty well convinces me that my bigger threats lie elsewhere, like that damn Halloween candy that just won’t go away.