In Defense of Granite Testing: One Reader ‘Speaks’

Reader Defends Granite Testing

Dear Janice:

With regard to the Industry Update story on page 14 of the June issue of KBDN, if natural stone was as safe as the Marble Institute of America claims, why isn’t it supporting the testing effort?

I sell granite, along with other countertop materials, but I test each and every slab prior to purchase to keep the high radiation granites out of my customers’ homes. I can show you videos we have made of very high level radiation from granite countertop slabs, 400 uR/hr, even 800 uR/hr Gamma.

One granite, Niagara Gold, had over 10 mR/hr Alpha, Beta, Gamma radiation. The average person only gets 360 mR of radiation exposure per year; two hours per day for a year at this exposure would give over 730 mR.

We have also discovered that the high-radiation granites overwhelm the meters, resulting in a reading from 5 to 10 times lower than the actual amount.

We as fabricators refuse to fabricate anything over 25 uR/hr Gamma, which is only five times normal background radiation, so the meters work sufficiently well for our purpose. The level at which the meters start giving low readings seems to be around 100 uR/hr.

Bordeaux, Niagara Gold, Shivakaski, Sahara, Four Seasons and a few others usually exceed that level. Still, there are slabs of those colors that have lower levels. Testing prior to purchase is the only way to find the low-level slabs.

I recently met with the radiation department manager of the Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma, and they confirmed that our meters were within accuracy tolerances. Later, during a telephone call to the regional EPA office in Dallas, the DEQ manager defended our readings. We have since been told that the EPA is looking further into the issue of granite radiation.

There is absolutely no reason for the MIA to act like this, except to buttress a 14-year-old position. Granite is a stone out of the earth’s crust; every single uranium deposit was formed after uranium leached out of granite.

We need to test the slabs, and not sell the dangerous ones.

Al Gerhart
The Carpenter Shop
Oklahoma City, OK

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