Nation Cooking on Radioactive Countertops

That fancy granite may contain more uranium than is good for you
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2008 10:07 AM CDT
Most granite counters aren't dangerous, but a select few give off more radiation than experts recommend.   (Shutterstock)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Granite countertops have become exceedingly popular, but few realize the dapper slabs can be radioactive, the New York Times reports. Granite often contains uranium, and reports have been flowing in of “hot” counters giving off higher-than-recommended levels of radon gas. “It’s not that all granite is dangerous,” said one expert. “But I’ve seen a few that might heat up your Cheerios a little.”

Calling the complaints ludicrous, the Marble Institute says countertops give off only trace amounts of radiation—less, for example, than smoke detectors or luminous watches. One researcher says you have a better chance of being hit by lightning than getting cancer from a counter. But, he adds, “If you can choose another counter that doesn’t elevate your risk, however slightly, why wouldn’t you?” (Read more kitchen stories.)