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Granite Countertops Source of Dangerous Radon Emissions
Radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, may be leaking from your countertops, if you have granite. According to recent news reports, more and more concerned consumers and radon inspectors are contacting the environmental protection agency with radon measurements several times higher than those considered to be acceptable background levels. The radon is emanating from the granite.
Granite Countertop Radon Emissions
Researchers currently studying the most commonly used granite in kitchen countertops have found that all the 55 samples they've tested emit radon radiation at higher than background levels. The samples were collected from US fabricators and wholesalers.
Radon is a radioactive gas that naturally occurs from traces of uranium in soil and rock. It can be found at varying levels around the world. In outdoor air, radon is present in low concentrations. However, in indoor air or enclosed spaces, radon can pose a long-term health risk because the levels can increase.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that homeowners need to be concerned if the radon gas levels in their homes exceed 4 picocuries per litre of air. Some granite countertops do in fact let off far more than that with reports as high as 100 picocuries per litre. Consequently, the U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend that all homes be tested.
Following that advice, four counties in central Nebraska recently sent out test kits to its residents. Amazingly, 75 percent of the homes in those locations were found to have radon levels higher than 4 picocuries per liter. In Adams County the average level was nearly 9 picocuries, considerably higher than levels considered safe.
The Risk of Living with RadonAs radon gas decays it turns into radioactive particles that can get trapped in the lungs just from breathing. As the particles continue to break down, they release small bursts of energy. This can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. The amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years.
Like other environmental pollutants, there is some uncertainty about the magnitude of radon health risks. However, the EPA states that they know more about radon risks than risks from most other cancer-causing substances, because estimates of radon risks are based on studies of cancer in humans, specifically underground miners. "Scientists are more certain about risks from radon than risks from most other cancer-causing substances," they state.
Exposure to Radon And Lung CancerAccording to the EPA, "Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years, depending upon demographic factors. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented; this is especially true for radon." Radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Granite Countertop Radon Emissions Legal HelpIf you or a loved one has suffered ill health effects, injury or damages from radon exposure, please click the link below to send your complaint to a lawyer to evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Last updated on Nov-6-08
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