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Granite Countertops: "No Letting Up of Health Problems"

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Los Angeles, CAThomas S. (not his real name) and his family were probably excited the day they moved into their new home. Unfortunately, within two years of moving in, all family members suffered from strange medical problems. Thomas believes that the health problems are related to excess radon in his home, emitting from granite countertops and other furnishings. However, he says that no one believes him.

Granite Countertop"In May 2005, my family bought a new home," Thomas says. "It had never been occupied—in fact it was just finished in the last couple of months. By the middle of 2007, all four of us were having various health problems. My, my wife, my now nine year old son and my now almost five year old daughter were all affected by it. The problems we experienced included hair loss, discoloration of our nails and skin, loss of gum tissue, loss of padding in our hands and feet, respiratory issues, skin changes and just a general feeling of not being well. No one felt good.

"We started looking for answers in the summer of 2007. We went to primary care providers, but they were of no help. They sent us to dermatologists. We went to three different dermatologists, and they recommended a toxicologist. The toxicologist tested us for unusual poisonings, like arsenic, mercury and lead. All of those tests came back negative, or in negligible amounts that are considered part of normal absorption through the western world.

"We were tested for radon and they found higher levels than acceptable. However, everyone who was a so-called expert on radon [Thomas contacted everyone from a local toxicologist to the Environmental Protection Agency] said that radon does not cause these symptoms. What all the research indicated, and every scientific person at the EPA and CDC says, is that the only thing that radon does is 20 to 30 years down the road, it can cause lung cancer.

"We have eliminated everything else, except radon. We are going to another hospital next week, and we hope they can help us. We have health problems. I own a home that I cannot occupy. We moved out because we could not bear subjecting our children to this. We now live in an apartment complex and pay a mortgage on a house we cannot occupy and cannot sell without repairs of some sort.

"There has been no letting up of the health problems. My wife and daughter are losing their hair at a rapid rate. We still have various other problems, including joint and muscle pains. We have skin discoloration—but one thing that has been strange is that our skin has improved. I had a 40 year old scar on my foot that disappeared. The worst part is that our children are losing their hair and there is nothing we can do about it.

"The house we purchased had granite countertops. When we had the official testing done by the company, the radon level was just below the action level of 4.0. In fact, it was at 3.95. However, we have used an electronic meter and tested all over our house at various times of day. The highest levels of radon we found were 12.2, but we've had readings between 4.0 and 12.2. There have been plenty of readings between 9.0 and 10.0. Also, there were high radon levels in other portions of the house than just the kitchen. The highest levels were around the fireplace.

"My youngest child has had four infections in the last six or seven months. She never had that stuff before and now she has permanent respiratory problems. When we moved into the house, she was a year and a half, and we are worried that this has affected her far more seriously than her older brother or the adults."



Posted by

Please be aware that not all "granite" countertops are true granite. True granite, as well as gneiss and schist, are the rocks from which radon can be emitted. "Granite," as used by the countertop industry, is a catch-all name for rock countertops. Find yourself a geologist to tell you what your countertops are actually made of. Don't spend a lot of money to change your countertops if you don't have to!

Posted by

Why isn't this information available to people pryor to

purchase I just had my bath room remodeled one month ago tomorrow and my neighbor came over to have a look
at the completed job and informed me
about granite I would have made a different material if I had this information. What can I do now?


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