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  1. #1 Killer Countertops 
    Senior Member LibraryLady's Avatar
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    What’s Lurking in Your Countertop?


    SHORTLY before Lynn Sugarman of Teaneck, N.J., bought her summer home in Lake George, N.Y., two years ago, a routine inspection revealed it had elevated levels of radon, a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. So she called a radon measurement and mitigation technician to find the source.
    “He went from room to room,” said Dr. Sugarman, a pediatrician. But he stopped in his tracks in the kitchen, which had richly grained cream, brown and burgundy granite countertops. His Geiger counter indicated that the granite was emitting radiation at levels 10 times higher than those he had measured elsewhere in the house.
    Funny, I have never liked granite countertops!

    “It’s not that all granite is dangerous,” said Stanley Liebert, the quality assurance director at CMT Laboratories in Clifton Park, N.Y., who took radiation measurements at Dr. Sugarman’s house. “But I’ve seen a few that might heat up your Cheerios a little.”

    Allegations that granite countertops may emit dangerous levels of radon and radiation have been raised periodically over the past decade, mostly by makers and distributors of competing countertop materials. The Marble Institute of America has said such claims are “ludicrous” because although granite is known to contain uranium and other radioactive materials like thorium and potassium, the amounts in countertops are not enough to pose a health threat.
    But with increasing regularity in recent months, the Environmental Protection Agency has been receiving calls from radon inspectors as well as from concerned homeowners about granite countertops with radiation measurements several times above background levels. “We’ve been hearing from people all over the country concerned about high readings,” said Lou Witt, a program analyst with the agency’s Indoor Environments Division.
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  2. #2  
    eeeevil Sith Admin SarasotaRepub's Avatar
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    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

    :eek::D
    May the FORCE be with you!
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  3. #3  
    Administrator SaintLouieWoman's Avatar
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    Thanks, LL. We're eventually going to replace the beat up old white formica countertops in the house. I don't think the house is worth granite. I wonder what they recommend?

    I do have a radon mitigation thingy in the house. The previous owners had little kids and had put a rec room in the basement. They must have had it tested first. I saw the reports; they were very low, borderline, but they had it installed anyway. I'd hate to make that thing work harder. :D

    PS Just noticed that SR posted before I did. Can you tell which one of us wanted granite? :D
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  4. #4  
    I live in Colorado. The entire state is saturated with "radon". Our lung cancer rates are below the national average. The radon thing is just another scam. Get the counter-tops if you enjoy them.
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  5. #5  
    Administrator SaintLouieWoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    I live in Colorado. The entire state is saturated with "radon". Our lung cancer rates are below the national average. The radon thing is just another scam. Get the counter-tops if you enjoy them.
    It's going to have to wait til our French doors are replaced in the family room. Darned old locks---it's a 3 point locking system, which is secure, too secure. Sometimes when it's locked, it's almost impossible to get it opened. I went through 3 locksmiths when I first moved in. None of them could find a replacement and all said it would be easier to replace the entire double door.

    Went to good ole' Lowe's over the weekend. They had decent looking steel doors with the blinds built into the door. The basic door was only $499, but when the guy came to measure, he said we need a 5 foot door and the in-stock ones are 6 feet.

    Now they say the door is $850 and with installation $1500. I'm going to shop around.

    I'm wondering if somehow I can get some ambitious soul to remove that long metal strip that's built into the frame and just drill holes for a regular lock. That $1500 price tag is motivating me. :D
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaintLouieWoman View Post
    Thanks, LL. We're eventually going to replace the beat up old white formica countertops in the house. I don't think the house is worth granite. I wonder what they recommend?

    :D
    I put formica countertops in the bathroom and the kitchen. They have patterns of the good quality formica countertops that looks exactly like granite for much less money. Unless you look at the edges( because of the thickness), you can not tell the difference between it and granite. You can go on line and get an idea of the 100's of different colors and patterns from several different manufacturers like Wilsonart.
    Last edited by lacarnut; 07-24-2008 at 11:08 PM.
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  7. #7  
    Administrator SaintLouieWoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lacarnut View Post
    I put formica countertops in the bathroom and the kitchen. They have patterns of the good quality formica countertops that looks exactly like granite for much less money. Unless you look at the edges( because of the thickness), you can not tell the difference between it and granite. You can go on line and get an idea of the 100's of different colors and patterns from several different manufacturers like Wilsonart.
    Thanks, will check it out. I got this house at the high point in the market and doubt if could get the money out of this place with the addition of granite. I think it's for a higher end house.
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member LibraryLady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    I live in Colorado. The entire state is saturated with "radon". Our lung cancer rates are below the national average. The radon thing is just another scam. Get the counter-tops if you enjoy them.
    I think they're freakin' ugly. I don't want a pattern on my countertops. But if people want them, here's an explanation:


    Why does Colorado have high radon levels and low lung cancer rates?

    Relative to other states, Colorado has the third lowest lung cancer death rate in the nation. For the period 1993-1997, the Colorado cancer death rate per 100,000 population was 48.2 among males, 25.6 among females. These rates are well below the national averages of 69.4 for males, 34.0 for females.

    Colorado radon levels are well above the national average. The average short term radon test done in Colorado comes in at 7.3 pCi/L. USEPA estimates the average indoor radon level nationwide is 1.3 pCi/L.

    So why don't cancer rates match up better with radon levels? Mobility is a key factor. Colorado's population is growing rapidly- people move here from other parts of the nation where they might have been exposed to more or less radon. Also death statistics are from the county in which the person died. Many residents move away from Colorado (retire in another state for example) and are not residents when they die, so their deaths are not recorded in Colorado. This in addition to the fact that they have moved here after exposure to unknown amounts of radon elsewhere shows that this is not a reliable way to equate any state's radon levels with the state's lung cancer rates.

    Second it must be remembered that smoking is the chief cause of most lung cancers. USEPA estimates that only about 10% of all lung cancers are attributable to radon. Most of these 10% are smokers, who have succumbed to the combined risks of smoking and radon. Therefore Colorado's low smoking rate might help explain our low lung cancer rate.
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  9. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaintLouieWoman View Post
    Thanks, will check it out. I got this house at the high point in the market and doubt if could get the money out of this place with the addition of granite. I think it's for a higher end house.
    I think I paid around 800 bucks for materials and installation for the bathroom and kitchen. I picked them out at a wholesale distributor and were installed by someone they recommended. With Formica/laminate, the distributor can bend it to fit against the back-splash. Mine look great with only one small seam showing behind and in front of the counter-top stove. One thing I do not like about granite is that you will have a seam at every 90% angle.
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  10. #10  
    Banned - Not really Theo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    I live in Colorado. The entire state is saturated with "radon". Our lung cancer rates are below the national average. The radon thing is just another scam. Get the counter-tops if you enjoy them.
    What she said. +1
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