The New York Times reports today that granite countertops emit radon. Granite contains uranium which decays naturally over time and emits radon as that happens. Radon in large quantities is bad. Radon can cause cancer. Apparantly, a "hot" countertop ("hot" meaning one that is emitting radon, not a stolen countertop) "might add a fraction of a millirem per hour and that is if you were a few inches from it or touching it the entire time."
Millirem? What's that? "The average person is subjected to radiation from natural and manmade sources at an annual level of 360 millirem (a measure of energy absorbed by the body), according to government agencies like the E.P.A. and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The limit of additional exposure set by the commission for people living near nuclear reactors is 100 millirem per year. To put this in perspective, passengers get 3 millirem of cosmic radiation on a flight from New York to Los Angeles."
Should people stand an arm's length away from their sinks when they do their dishes? Would organic dish soap help cancel out the radon effect? Maybe they should start doing dishes outside? The counters just LOOK so nice!
This article has quickly risen to the most emailed article of the day. It reports that people have actually torn out their granite countertops because they are afraid. Hmmm. Are we too alarmist a society?The article is called "What's Lurking in your Countertop" by Kate Murphy https://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/garden/24granite.html?em&ex=1217044800&en=b1b72356dde58ae6&ei=5087%0A