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  1. #1
    Jeff Spencer's Avatar
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    Default Stone Countertops & Radon

    I caught the tail end of a news report the night before last that was either detailing or hyping the risks of radon posed by stone countertops.

    Is this something any of y'all have dealt with, or is the local news (Houston, TX) trying to get ratings?

    Since I live in a low-risk area relative to radon, I've never thought about before. Wish I'd seen the entire report, but I was engaged in serious mental drift about that time.

    Jeff

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Spencer View Post
    I caught the tail end of a news report the night before last that was either detailing or hyping the risks of radon posed by stone countertops.

    Is this something any of y'all have dealt with, or is the local news (Houston, TX) trying to get ratings?

    Since I live in a low-risk area relative to radon, I've never thought about before. Wish I'd seen the entire report, but I was engaged in serious mental drift about that time.

    Jeff
    It all depends on who is reporting and what source is being cited.
    The Marble Institute of America (MIA) says that it is a bunch of bunk! Yet, other groups and scientist say that it is very possible to have a slab of granite emitting radon in a home.

    I kind of lump it in with all of the elementary school playground equipment that was built in the 1960's and 70's with old oilfield drilling pipe. It was just metal pipe that was strong and cheap. Made great swings and monkey bars, but it had one little problem. It was radioactive a good part of the time.

    I'm going with the non-industry view in that it could happen.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Supposedly from the EPA: (my bold)

    "Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around your home's foundation. Because of this difference in pressure, your house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings. Radon may also be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses. In most cases, radon entering the home through water is a small risk compared with radon entering your home from the soil. In a small number of homes, the building materials (e.g., granite and certain concrete products) can give off radon, although building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves. In the United States, radon gas in soils is the principal source of elevated radon levels in homes."


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 05-24-2008 at 02:51 PM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Interesting reading. Another thing to report and disclaim. Jeeze. Did anyone hear or read the recent reports on nanotubes, their similarity to asbestos and the possibility of mesotheleomia?

    The conclusions in Michael's Marble Institute post recommend sealing the stone. As I recall, JP was on the fence about that in an earlier post.

    Any (revised) comments, JP?

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    From the Marble Institute link: "Alternatively, if the crushed granite is used to make other building materials, radon emanation can also be a health concern"

    Isn't that decomposed granite stuff crushed granite?


    Then there is this:

    "In the worst case as represented by Crema Bourdeaux at equilibrium is 292 pCi/Lx22÷24000=0.27 pCi/L.
    The actual radon dilution factor can be much bigger than what is calculated. Radon from granite countertop can, therefore, only add a very small amount to the house when it is not used such as during the period of vacation. Radon from countertops cannot exceed the maximum equilibrium level because 222Rn decays quickly with a half-life of 3.8235 days."

    Then this:

    "Conclusion
    The testing procedures for radon emanation of granite countertops are designed for normal use of these stones only as countertops. Adapting the 4pCi/L action level as recommended by US EPA as a reference and the house is not in active use, Crema Bourdeaux countertop raises less than 7% of this action level. The second and the third highest radon count stone Tropic Brown and Baltic Brown can add only approximately 1% of this action level. All the other countertops adds only insignificant amount of radon to the house. If normal air exchange rate is applied or the house is actively used, then the radon addition should be much smaller."

    That basically tells me not to worry about it.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  7. #7
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Jerry,
    That MIA article is highly suspect. They have a history of hiring a "study" done, without insisting that the work be sujected to peer review and publication, two marks of a truly scientific study.

    The testing that Dr. Chyi did was okay according to experts in the field, indeed he found that Crema Bordeaux emitted like 292 times more Radon than some of the others! Where this effort went wrong was in the conclusions.

    To start with, they used a 13' x 2' granite countertop as the example home, a 2,000 square foot home. Then to make it seem more reasonable, they doubled the square footage by counting top and bottom square footage, bringing it up to 54 square feet. I missed it the first time I read it, had to go back after a nagging feeling that the levels emitted were low.

    I can tell you that the average countertop in a home of that size would be between 65 and 75 square feet, so if Chyi said to count both sides since both sides emit the Radon (ignore the edges for now, but they emit as well), that 54 square feet becomes between 130 and 150 for the kitchen alone. Triple his emission from .27 to .81 pCi/Liter. Four picoCuries per Liter have a lung cancer rate of 7 per 1,000 exposed(adults only), according to the EPA, and the relationship is linear, so .81 pCi/L will cause 1.41 cancers per thousand exposed, hardly a small risk factor. Children have 10 times that risk factor according to the NRC and the EPA.

    Still serveral problems remain with this conclusion.

    First off, There will be far more granite in some homes. Our average granite jobs in a home that size is two slabs, 100 to 120 square feet in the kitchen tops in some cases alone. Add the granite tile flooring, the vanity tops, sometimes shower tiles and you can have a lot more total square footage that would add to the Radon levels in the home. We commonly put three slabs in homes of 2,000 square feet.

    Secondly, they are assuming that Crema Bordeaux is the highest radioactive level granite, far from it. Crema Bordeaux is pretty mild stuff, around 20 to 25 uR/hr Gamma emission (Gamma emission is an indicator of the Radon emission, roughly the same). Other granites like Jupanara Bordeaux (shorted to Bordeaux), Shivakaski, Niagara Gold, Four Seasons, Bariacotto, Savanah, and many other granites are far higher. The highest level slab found so far is Savanah, which had hot spots at 1030 uR/hr! I have personally measured 800 uR/hr and higher, plenty of 500 and 400 uR/hr granites slabs around.

    So, the second point it that the Crema Bordeaux at 25 uR/hr is very low, 41 times less than the highest level slab found to date. That .27 pCi/L becomes 11 pCi/L when using Savanah. Shivakaski with very high levels has been found in two homes, both failed a Radon test till the granite was removed! The Houston home in the story returned to normal levels after the granite was removed.

    Thirdly, that 292 pCi/L that the Crema Bordeaux emitted would eventually spread out all over the home, but what about a homeowner using the kitchen countertop? They are breathing concentrated levels, up to 292 pCi/L according to Dr. CHyi, all the while they are standing near the top. The kitchen, as in the Houstone example, will be far higher Radon level as well. In the Houston case, there was no concern in other areas of the home. The Radon didn't spread out as expected.

    In the conculsions, they mention air exchange, up to 6 total changes per hour. Not many homes are in areas where that kind of air exchange can be affordable. Here in Oklahoma, we open the windows rarely, either too hot, too cold, or too many mosquitos. The point is, who ever wrote that section of the article (it wasn't Dr. Chyi), used a massive air exchange rate to further minimalize the risk.

    In the end, the granite that we sell, we test before purchase. Some gets rejected, anything over the UN levels of 41 uR/hr. Every slab yard will have multiple slabs of granite way over this level, usually one very, very hot slab, up above 100 uR/hr Gamma. So despite the MIA's article on this issue, there is some concern in the industry. One of our vendors is helping the testing effort, supplying hot granite for testing, and the guy has canceled orders of incoming material that we found to be hot, as well as canceling sold orders of hot material we found in his inventory.

    So far, three granite countertops have been removed after being found to raise kitchen Radon levels over 14 pCi/Liter. Then again, hardly anyone knows to look for this problem, and if the MIA has its way, it will stay that way.... The Houston countertop in the story had a previous homeowner develop a brain tumor while living in the home. Dr. Llope, the nuclear Physicst in the TV report, was very skeptical at first. Now he is using his Lab to test granite samples in his free time and speaking out about the radiation levels that a granite countertop can emitt.

    I have a blog started about this issue if anyone is interested,

    solidsurfacealliance.org Blog » Granite Radiation

    And on Youtube.com, we have some short videos of a radiation meter shrieking its little guts out from the Gamma radiation coming from a granite slab. YouTube - TCSRock78's Channel

    Brand new meters, calibrated to military specs by an expert.

    Heads up guys, we sell granite and it can be a concern. I lost a $10,000 granite job last month because the material was too hot to fabricate. One of my competitors has fewer scruples.

    Thanks,
    Al


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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Man, And I always thought it was what you sniffed off the granite countertops that killed you. Wake up and smell the rocks.


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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gerhart View Post
    To start with, they used a 13' x 2' granite countertop as the example home, a 2,000 square foot home.

    I can tell you that the average countertop in a home of that size would be between 65 and 75 square feet,

    Al,

    I just came back from the house my daughter is building over in Williston, FL. It is just under 2,000 sf in size (conditioned space) and her granite countertop is probably close to 13' x 2', maybe just lightly more, but not much (had I known of this post I could have measured it).

    I read the article, it seems to me that, all things considered in the article, that the radon produced by the granite is not something to worry about, much lower than the action thresholds.

    Guess it is to each reader to 'read into it what they want'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  10. #10
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Jerry,

    We do usually do three or four kitchen tops a week. And there are yearly surveys on this matter, top size, materials most used, price points, ect. The industry average is between 65 and 75 square feet. Sure some kitchens will be smaller and some larger, thus the average and the range.

    26 feet is a small countertop, less than one sheet of solid surface. Average job takes 2 1/2 sheets.

    And, in the type of kitchens that do high end cabinets like we produce, they tend to be larger than average. The most I ever put in one kitchen was 300 square feet of material.

    I appreciate skeptical thought, glad to see that in an inspector, but if you re read the MIA puff piece, you will notice that they didn't touch the radiation issue, just the Radon emission. The guy that did the TV interview, Dr. Llope, has a website on this issue if you want to see what he is saying.

    Web home: Radiation & Radon from Natural Stone, W.J. Llope

    Or read his report for the TV station.

    http://www.khou.com/images/0805/LLOP...dRn_080507.pdf

    Keep in mind that Dr. Llope was not the expert that the group wanted, Dr. Llope was brought in for an independant opinion. Now he is testing granite...

    Now, turn that excellent, skeptical, inspector mind to why they didn't address both the Radon and the radiation danger from granite?

    I'm just saying.....


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    One more idea on radioactive countertops: Several ideas, actually,

    I have tested a number of different stone counter materials in an informal way, and none were hot. However, I have direct knowledge of one that was quite hot, detected by a CRM moved to the counter after the basement test was done, but not turned off. (long story, realtor involved). It's pretty clear that some stone is radioactive, most is not. So if it's your house, or your family's house, the obvious answer is to test. Test the basement, test the bedroom, test the kitchen, test the air right on the counter or stone floor or stone shower enclosure. Passive tests are really cheap, nearly free from many county health departments. Deploy a half dozen of them at the same time, and have fun interpreting the results

    In a real estate transaction, active tests are more likely to be in use, and are much more expensive. Not likely you could talk a client into multiple tests. I've done a few that way at the customer's request, one CRM in the basement, one in the kitchen, and my customers were glad to know that their stone wasn't hot.

    The comment by the manufacturer association about the equilibrium ratio, and the half life calculated to the ten-thousandth of a day was amusing. Does anybody know what it means?

    When assessing cancer risk, it's the lifetime dose that counts, not the instantaneous exposure to any one source. So the problem with stone is its contribution to the overall house radon level. (Same as with radon in water.) However, if you have an unacceptable radon level in the home, it would be really good to know where it's coming from, so you don't waste time, effort and money mitigating the wrong place. That's the only good reason for multiple tests.

    Matt Bezanson, NEHA RMP101003RT, NRSB RMS # SS75


  12. #12

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Good morning, Gents –

    Here's a thought from my perspective as a practicing epidemiologist and toxicologist. The entire argument is debating how many angels can fit on the top of a pin.

    Two things:

    One-
    There is NO evidence whatever that the concentrations emitted are associated in any way with adverse health effects. Arguments about the emission rates and resultant indoor concentrations are arguments of futility. It is rather like arguing whether the US population is at risk, because the average height of a coffee table is 15.25 inches or 15.5 inches. Until someone can demonstrate that the height of coffee tables has anything to do with adverse health effects – the rest of the argument is largely a fool’s errant.

    Two-
    None of the studies I have seen have been able to show a significant difference in radon concentrations in homes with the counter tops, and then without. None. After all, it would be sooooo easy to do. Take 100 houses and monitor the average concentration in those houses over the course of 24 months. Pair match 50 pairs, and install counter tops and measure the radon concentrations for 24 months. Do the math. Why hasn’t this been done? Because the costs aren’t justified, because the risks aren’t there.

    One might as well lie awake at night worrying about whether green seatbelts are safer than black seatbelts.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    I can only add this: On the houses I've inspected with large areas of stone countertops, the areas of stone floor make the areas of the stone countertops negligible, percentage wise.

    With 10,000 sf ++ of stone flooring, what effect is even 300 sf of stone countertop going to contribute? >1/3 of 1%? As I said ... negligible.

    Take a more moderate house, say 6,000 sf of stone flooring, and a relative reduction in countertops, say to 100 sf, that's 1/6 of 1% ... negligible.

    Take an even more modest house, say 3,000 sf of stone flooring, and a relative reduction in countertops, say to 75 sf, that 1/4 of 1% ... negligible.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Hi Matt,


    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bezanson View Post
    One more idea on radioactive countertops: Several ideas, actually,

    I have tested a number of different stone counter materials in an informal way, and none were hot. However, I have direct knowledge of one that was quite hot, detected by a CRM moved to the counter after the basement test was done, but not turned off. (long story, realtor involved). It's pretty clear that some stone is radioactive, most is not. So if it's your house, or your family's house, the obvious answer is to test. Test the basement, test the bedroom, test the kitchen, test the air right on the counter or stone floor or stone shower enclosure. Passive tests are really cheap, nearly free from many county health departments. Deploy a half dozen of them at the same time, and have fun interpreting the results

    I agree, not all granite is hot. The Chinese have done more testing than other countries, indeed the law requires all granite be tested before bringing to market. They have a sticker, not unlike our Matteress tags that must follow the slab till it is installed. The Chinese say that between 30 and 20% of all stones fail the Class A rating (.3 mSv,yr exposure or 41 uR/hr gamma). What testing I have done shows around 3 to 5% of granite is of major concern, if you consider types of granite.

    In a real estate transaction, active tests are more likely to be in use, and are much more expensive. Not likely you could talk a client into multiple tests. I've done a few that way at the customer's request, one CRM in the basement, one in the kitchen, and my customers were glad to know that their stone wasn't hot.

    We are using Scintillators to indicate Gamma, not really looking for Radon. I think that is best left to the professionals. A Scintillator will tell you from 8 feet away if there is a problem..

    The comment by the manufacturer association about the equilibrium ratio, and the half life calculated to the ten-thousandth of a day was amusing. Does anybody know what it means?

    I can speak to the Equilibrium Ratio. Not sure I understand the nuances of it yet, but apparently the Radon at some point reaches max level because it is decaying into daughter products as fast as it is being produced, or that seems to be the gist of it. I have heard that around 21 or 27 days. Dr. Llope said to just open your windows for a half day every three weeks to prevent the Radon building up to the max levels.

    I didn't find the half life calculated to ten-thousandths, what page was it on?

    When assessing cancer risk, it's the lifetime dose that counts, not the instantaneous exposure to any one source. So the problem with stone is its contribution to the overall house radon level. (Same as with radon in water.) However, if you have an unacceptable radon level in the home, it would be really good to know where it's coming from, so you don't waste time, effort and money mitigating the wrong place. That's the only good reason for multiple tests.



    Matt Bezanson, NEHA RMP101003RT, NRSB RMS # SS75
    Thanks for the info. If you find a hot top, let us know the stone type and if you can release it, the homeowners info so we can contact them. Only three torn out so far, but every bit of data helps the scientists working on this effort.

    Al


  15. #15
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
    Al Gerhart Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Hi Caoimhin,

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Good morning, Gents –

    Here's a thought from my perspective as a practicing epidemiologist and toxicologist. The entire argument is debating how many angels can fit on the top of a pin.

    Two things:

    One-
    There is NO evidence whatever that the concentrations emitted are associated in any way with adverse health effects. Arguments about the emission rates and resultant indoor concentrations are arguments of futility. It is rather like arguing whether the US population is at risk, because the average height of a coffee table is 15.25 inches or 15.5 inches. Until someone can demonstrate that the height of coffee tables has anything to do with adverse health effects – the rest of the argument is largely a fool’s errant.

    A couple of questions. The EPA recently changed their position on this issue and is now recommending granite top owners to test their homes for Radon. Some concern must have been present to change their advice from not to worry to worry....

    It seems that there is quite a bit of Radon health risk info out there. Is there a reason you don't hold with what they are saying? The Radon health risk seems to be accepted worldwide at this time.

    Two-
    None of the studies I have seen have been able to show a significant difference in radon concentrations in homes with the counter tops, and then without. None. After all, it would be sooooo easy to do. Take 100 houses and monitor the average concentration in those houses over the course of 24 months. Pair match 50 pairs, and install counter tops and measure the radon concentrations for 24 months. Do the math. Why hasn’t this been done? Because the costs aren’t justified, because the risks aren’t there.

    Actually, I know of no completed studies at all that have tested individual homes. Build Clean is doing one in Houston, but are focusing on Quartz and granite tops already installed. They aren't planning on taking the countertops out! The Radon levels in Houston are usually near zero because of the soil types, so checking a nearby home without a granite or quartz top will serve as a control. Your arguement seems to be since these studies haven't been done, it isn't possible for granite to contribute to the indoor Radon levels. Doing a test like that, installing or removing $5,000 countertops, would be cost prohibitive would it not? Saying it hasn't been done because the risk isn't there is not logical.

    Three tops have already been removed, two Shivikasi and one Bordeaux. All three kitchens had very high level Radon, up to 14 pCi/L untill the tops were removed. The homes returned to normal levels afterward.

    That is fact, and the conclusions are apparent.

    One might as well lie awake at night worrying about whether green seatbelts are safer than black seatbelts.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG



  16. #16
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Jerry,
    What type of stone is being used as flooring in the cases you mention? If it is granite, it seems that even more concern for testing would be the case.

    I hope you guys get paid a lot more for those monster sized homes you inspect. I bet it takes some time to do a though job.

    Anybody know that inspector that does the syndicated column in the Real Estate sections of local papers? I forget his name at the moment. Is he the real deal?

    Thanks for the input, you got me thinking,
    Al


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    I'm not Caoimhin and I don't play him on IN, but here is some radon info from his website:

    Radon: Risk and Reality


  18. #18
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Thanks John!
    Al


  19. #19
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
    Al Gerhart Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Well, you have to say that Caoimhin can speak with authority on this subject. He has done his homework.

    However, he stated that

    "In other words, statistically significant elevated risks were observed in only 3 out of 14 similar good epidemiological studies (three studies showed a risk, and 11 studies failed to show a significant risk"

    Given the uncertainty of cofounding factors, relying only on what Caoimhin wrote, I would say that at best the subject needs further studies. I've seen four or five studies that back up his postition, but there are others that definitively say that Radon has a cancer risk.

    Or Caoimhin is right and the others are wrong. Who knows? I'd argue that a couple of grand on a mitigation system is cheap insurance.

    Also, the business he is in seems to be tilted toward catching the criminals. Some of the examples of "qualifiers" used in some of the studies are standard fare of scientific reports. One professor mentioned in the Garden Web debate that sometimes the language seems coy, but it is just a scientist leaving the door open for new facts to influence his opinion on the matter.

    Still, it was a very interesting read, and I will have to look up some of the more recent Radon studies and ask Caoimhins opinion on them.

    Certainly can not dismiss his views after that effort.

    Thanks for pointing me to the info John.

    Al


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Al - No problem.

    His "Myths of Duct Cleaning" is one of my favorites:

    Continuing Discussions on Indoor Mould- Duct Cleaning


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    I've always kind of scoffed at that one myself. Didn't have any proof, but it just sounds silly. I need to go back and read the duct cleaning page.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    I just now heard about this today. I couldnt believe it. Every day there is something that was previously thought of as harmless that can cause cancer or other health risk. Its really truly hard to believe which reports are real and which ones are bogus anymore. Its even hard to believe whether something like this is even worth worrying about.

    Im sure lawyers are already salivating over this next group of potential lawsuits. Im sure most of these lawsuits will be frivolous too.

    lead paint, asbestos, mold, radon in granite countertops...whats next?


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gerhart View Post
    The Houston countertop in the story had a previous homeowner develop a brain tumor while living in the home. Dr. Llope, the nuclear Physicst in the TV report, was very skeptical at first. Now he is using his Lab to test granite samples in his free time and speaking out about the radiation levels that a granite countertop can emitt.
    Are you implying the radon emitted from the granite countertops caused this gentleman's brain tumor? To my knowledge the only medical concern with radon is lung cancer. I am not a doctor but I suspect this gentleman's brain tumor was caused by something other than radon.

    Or are you implying the radiation emanating from the granite countertops caused the brain tumor? How long must one be exposed to the radiation emanating from granite countertops before a brain tumor develops? Does the tumor form overnight? Or does it take years of exposure?

    How do you measure one's exposure to the radiation emanating from the countertops? Obviously the closer one is to the countertop the higher the exposure. (I would expect it to be around the square of the distance. So your exposure at 10' away will only be 1% of your exposure at 1' away.)

    No, I don't think those granite countertops caused this guy's brain tumor. But that looks great in an article that tries to scare people about the dangers of granite countertops.

    Last edited by Bruce Breedlove; 07-24-2008 at 01:44 PM. Reason: spelling
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    What’s Lurking in Your Countertop? Radon@#%!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/ga...o_interstitial

    (We know how thorough and unbiased the NY Times is!!! Ask John McCain)

    The granite, it turned out, contained high levels of uranium, which is not only radioactive but releases radon gas as it decays.

    Geiger counter indicated that the granite was emitting radiation at levels 10 times higher than those he had measured elsewhere in the house.


    I find it interesting that the radon inspector has a gieger counter!! I don't plan on buying one.

    Another tool to carry????

    GeigerCounters.com

    Here in "Nanny State Land" everything is dangerous; "be afraid, very afraid"!!

    They (chemically, electromagnetic, mold spore, fragrance sensitives) were trying to ban WiFi from government buildings here in "The City Different"

    According to the article we would have to warn them about the radioactive smoke detectors in their house.

    From article:

    "Indeed, health physicists and radiation experts agree that most granite countertops emit radiation and radon at extremely low levels. They say these emissions are insignificant compared with so-called background radiation that is constantly raining down from outer space or seeping up from the earth’s crust, not to mention emanating from manmade sources like X-rays, luminous watches and smoke detectors."

    I already have enuf… to explain with high radon levels as it is.

    Better check the contract agreement disclaimers... again!!!

    Charles @ PreVue Property Inspections, Santa Fe, NM
    http://www.prevuepropertyinspections.com/
    "How can someone with glasses so thick be so stupid?"

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Charles @ PreVue Property Inspections, Santa Fe, NM
    http://www.prevuepropertyinspections.com/
    "How can someone with glasses so thick be so stupid?"

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bezanson View Post
    The comment by the manufacturer association about the equilibrium ratio, and the half life calculated to the ten-thousandth of a day was amusing. Does anybody know what it means?
    What they mean is that radon does not keep building up to higher and higher concentrations in a vacant building. Once the radon concentration is at its equilibrium level (where the decaying radon is equal to the radon entering the building) it will remain at that level. The measured radon concentation will naturally fluctuate due to outside forces that affect the amount of radon drawn into the building. A building will reach its equilibrium level after about 12 hours. (That's why EPA protocol says you need closed-house conditions for at least 12 hours before starting a radon test.)

    This question comes up from time to time when I measure radon in a vacant house and find the levels higher than the EPA action level. Someone usually says the radon levels are probably high because the house has been closed up for X months which has allowed the radon to built up to those high levels.

    I try to explain that radon is radioactive with a half-life of about 3.5 days. (I know. It is really 3.825 days but 3.5 days is easier to work with and the difference is minal when talking in general terms.) I tell the person the radon that was in the house 8 weeks ago has gone through 16 half-lives over the intervening 8 weeks meaning only 0.0015% of that radon remains in the house. The other 99.9985% has decayed away. Of the radon that was in the house a week earlier only 25% of it remains (after two half-lives). The other 75% is gone. Sure, new radon is entering the home all the time but the older radon in the house is decaying away. The radon entering the house and the radon that is decaying away are in equilibrium. The radon concentration does not continue to build up and up and up.

    Some people understand this. Some don't.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  27. #27
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    A little break away humor here

    "green seat belts are safer than black seat belts"

    Oh damn, someone wrote it, it must be true. I am going down to the ford garage tomorrow!

    I have been in construction all my life. I have sucked in probably an overload of every toxin known to man. I am 54 years young and to this date I have no cancer, no tumors, no diseases. I have more than likely sucked in more concrete dust than anyone ever should have. I truly believe that there is something in the human body, some have more some have less, that are brought out by different substances in your environment.

    Case in point. Coal minors that never come down with a sickness and then retire. Wives die off ten years earlier from black lung disease. Don't argue, I know it is not the norm but it is true in some cases.

    The case of second hand smoke killing off the wife???????????????????????? and the husband that smoked 60 of his 80 years dies of natural causes.


  28. #28

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Good morning, All:

    Hope all are well.

    Al Gerhart stated:

    "Given the uncertainty of cofounding factors, relying only on what Caoimhin wrote, I would say that at best the subject needs further studies. I've seen four or five studies that back up his postition, but there are others that definitively say that Radon has a cancer risk."

    Actually, no. Not correct. There are many statements made by various folks saying that radon is a risk, but there are no valid studies that say that. Not one. That is why my challenge has remained in place for well over a decade now. And that challenge is for someone to find one, just one, just one, just one, study – (just one) which demonstrates, without confounders, that radon concentrations as normally seen in residential houses, significantly increases the risk of cancer. If you can find it – post the reference here, and I will buy you dinner at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver (or whatever).

    "Or Caoimhin is right and the others are wrong."

    Again – it is not a question of me versus the “others” – I have made it clear that I ABSOLUTELY AGREE with the US EPA studies that demonstrate that radon does NOT present a risk. That is what their studies show, that is what they make clear in the scientific literature – and that is why I agree with them. Where I disagree with them is where they then completely ignore their own data and make a “policy” statement for the good of the otherwise stupid citizenry (you and me) that disregards their own studies.

    Mr. Breedlove states:

    "A building will reach its equilibrium level after about 12 hours. (That's why EPA protocol says you need closed-house conditions for at least 12 hours before starting a radon test.)"

    Not really. In fact not at all. If that was the case, you could just close up an house for 12 hours and then go in and run a two minute sample.

    The reality is that the property will NEVER reach equilibrium for one very good reason… not only is the radon concentration varying wildly minute by minute, but the SLRDs (the things you measuring and then calling “radon” ) are also varying wildly minute by minute (but in an independent fashion from the radon). "Equilibrium" is a thing that can only be met in a "steady-state" system, and even "dynamic equilibrium" needs steady-state changes. (I'd be happy to provide examples).

    The whole goofy business with the ER and the half-life stuff comes from collecting a static sample in a closed container or a static sample in a finite system – not with a house with constantly changing sinks and sources (things that increase the concentration and things that decrease the concentration). Although it wasn't valid, and has NEVER been demonstrated to be accurate, the EPA used it anyway - cuz it was easy.

    To put the risk of radon and counter tops into perspective imagine this: Cosmic radiation exposures increase with elevation (as measured from the center of the earth). Worrying about the additional risk of radon from a counter top would be rather like worrying about the additional risk of lung cancer caused from sleeping on a bed that was 18 inches off the floor versus 14 inches off the floor (but entirely not worrying about the fact that you work on the 23rd floor of an office building, take your skiing vacations in Vail, fly 10,000 miles each year, and are going for a dental X-ray next month). Worrying about radon borders on mental, worrying about radon from countertops is nothing short of insane and ranks up there with EMFs from alien space ships.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    ... worrying about radon from countertops is nothing short of insane and ranks up there with EMFs from alien space ships.
    ...
    What?! I've been wrapping my head in aluminum foil all this time for nothing?!


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    What?! I've been wrapping my head in aluminum foil all this time for nothing?!
    No, No john....the aluminum foil doesnt protect you from electro magnetic fields from aliens. It is only used to prevent aliens from being able to read your thoughts.


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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Thomas View Post
    the aluminum foil doesnt protect you from electro magnetic fields from aliens. It is only used to prevent aliens from being able to read your thoughts.
    "It is only used to prevent aliens from being able to read your thoughts."

    Oh ... 'read my thoughts' ... then I have nothing to worry about , I can take the aluminum foil off - cool.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  32. #32

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    "It is only used to prevent aliens from being able to read your thoughts."

    Oh ... 'read my thoughts' ... then I have nothing to worry about , I can take the aluminum foil off - cool.
    Now THAT was funny!
    Caoimhín


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    edit.

    Last edited by Randy Evans; 09-07-2008 at 06:40 PM.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Evans View Post
    The 4 pC/l standard is used, every day, in real estate transactions. IF a particular slab (or slabs) of granite being installed in a kitchen will cause the radon measurements of a house to go from below that standard to above it,

    Randy,

    More than just "Right?", if a radon measurement comes back above the 4 pC/l, I suspect action is taken in order to complete the deal.

    *IF* 'normal and typical' radon mitigation takes care of the radon problem and reduces the radon measurements to below that 4 pC/l level, then the problem is considered "solved" ... right?

    Thus, whether the contributing factor is inside the house or outside the house, that is not even considered into the equation, the radon level is reduced to below the acceptable action threshold and 'all is well'.

    Now, though, consider *IF* 'normal and typical' radon mitigation fails to reduce the radon problem, further radon testing isolates the kitchen as 'the source' of the high radon levels, and further radon testing isolates the granite countertop as 'the source' of that kitchen radon.

    The question now becomes: do you replace the granite countertop or live with it. I suspect the answer lies in 'how high' the radon levels of the granite countertop source is. If it is a 4.1 pC/l, probably no action will be taken, however, if the radon measurements of the granite countertops show it to be at 200 pC/l, I suspect action will be taken.

    Many years ago in South Florida when radon testing first started, some fellow HIs decided to go the radon technician, etc., route (I declined to go that way), one them had a reading of well over 100 after their samples were sent to the lab, so a re-test was made, and the re-test came back at virtually 0. What gives? What was different at the time of the re-test than was present at the original test? After due consideration and thought, it was answered as 'The seller was still occupying the home at the original test, but had already moved out at the time of the re-test, the inspector/radon technician recalls having seen a large glass case filled with the seller's rock collection at the original test which was no longer present at the re-test.'

    Yes, the seller took the radon source with her . Now the house was clear.

    Another building, a commercial office building in Boca Raton, was tested and showed very little radon on the first floor, however, a second floor test showed the radon level was quite high. This was isolated back to a large rock wall in the second floor lobby. The cause and source was internal, not external, to the building.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    edit.

    Last edited by Randy Evans; 09-07-2008 at 06:41 PM.

  36. #36

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Good morning, Folks:

    Bear with me for a couple of comments:

    Randy States:

    The 4 pC/l standard is used, every day, in real estate transactions.

    The value of 4 pCi/l is not a standard. It is a recommendation. The fact that you think it is a standard is a testimony to the power of the misrepresentations by the US EPA in allowing people to draw bad conclusions from their work.

    IF a particular slab (or slabs) of granite being installed in a kitchen will cause the radon measurements of a house to go from below that standard to above it, then a prudent consumer considering the purchase of those slabs really ought to take the implications into account. Right?

    No. For the following reasons:

    1) The people who are measuring radon in homes are NOT determining the actual radon concentration in homes.

    2) The methods used by those performing radon measurements are not capable of determining with confidence the actual SLRDs or radon concentration in an home, (the methods were never designed for that purpose).

    3) The method employed by radon measurement folks are incapable of determining whether the counter top was the cause of a single elevated reading or not.

    4) Whereas the radon in a counter top is roughly a steady state source, the radon concentrations in any particular home is a function of:
    Time of day
    Time of year
    Indoor/outdoor temperatures
    Extant wind speeds
    Water table levels
    Barometric pressure fluctuations
    Snow cover
    Recent rain

    As such, the short term radon measurements taken have a huge error associated with them in extrapolating the long term concentrations. For example (I’ve presented these numbers before) Using the methods employed today to determine the “radon concentration” in an home (especially during real estate transactions), there is no statistically significant difference between the following readings (that is, each of the following readings are within the upper and lower 95% confidence intervals for the "final results" of a test):

    20 pCi/l
    6 pCi/l
    89 pCi/l
    75 pCi/l
    3 pCi/l
    90 pCi/l
    16 pCi/l
    45 pCi/l
    22 pCi/l
    87 pCi/l
    69 pCi/l
    9 pCi/l
    91 pCi/l
    11 pCi/l
    12 pCi/l
    56 pCi/l
    7 pCi/l
    45 pCi/l
    22 pCi/l
    5 pCi/l

    Based on the method method, an house with a yearly “radon” concentration of say 47 pCi/l (as that given above) can give a reading of anywhere between 91 pCi/l and 2 pCi/l and still be "correct."

    Therefore, since the method cannot reliably determine the difference between say, 4 and 20 pCi/l, what makes you think that it can reliably determine the difference between 3 pCi/l and 4 pCi/l?

    Having said that, the underlying fact remains that the values being measured are NOT measurements of risk and one still has to accept the fact that the EPA has determined that as the level of radon goes UP in your house the risk of cancer goes DOWN. Let me repeat that: The EPA has determined that as the level of radon goes UP in your house the risk of cancer goes DOWN.

    The EPA has NOT been able to demonstrate that there is any additional risk of cancer at 4 pCi/l – therefore, even if the counter top DOES increase the radon level in the house from 3 pCi/l to 4 pCi/l:

    1) The radon contractor can’t determine it
    2) The measure method can’t confirm it
    3) The contractor isn’t even measuring radon
    And…
    5) There is no known adverse health effects anyway. (In fact, according to the latest EPA studies, your risk of lung cancer just went down).

    Finally:
    From a health perspective, I can't imagine that much difference exists between a 3.5 pC/l environment and a 4.5 pC/l environment.

    Friend, from an health perspective there is no significant difference between 3 and 30 pCi/l, and from a technical perspective, (as pointed out above) a radon test cannot tell the difference between 3.5 pCi/l and 4.5 pCi/l.

    From a business perspective, it's all the difference in the world.

    Thus creating a legitimate business opportunity for smart people to fleece their sheep.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG

    Last edited by Caoimhín P. Connell; 08-04-2008 at 07:08 AM. Reason: Added numbered lists

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    edit.

    Last edited by Randy Evans; 09-07-2008 at 06:41 PM.

  38. #38
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Mr. Connell,

    The 4 pCi/L is a standard, splitting hairs doesn't make it less so. My understanding is that it came about from a calculation of $ per death. Something like $2,000,000 in cost per death avoided. What you are advocating by claiming the EPA standard is too high is cheapening life.

    We spend all kind of money preventing death and injury, this is no different. Most of the other countries that have Radon/building material radiation standards also use something close to these levels. Even BEIR VII supported ALARA and specifically dismissed Hormesis as a valid scientific fact. I agree there is a small fringe that believe in Hormesis, but it has yet to be proven as fact.

    The most compelling reason not to believe in Hormesis is that the HPS hasn't latched on to it. They are renouned for bucking the ICRP and BEIR VII, protecting their jobs in the nuclear industry. They would use Hormesis if there was a shread of truth to it.

    You quote a variety of reasons why Radon from countertops can't be measured,

    Time of day
    Time of year
    Indoor/outdoor temperatures
    Extant wind speeds
    Water table levels
    Barometric pressure fluctuations
    Snow cover
    Recent rain

    You seem to be confusing soil based Radon factors with those inside a home. I see little reason that a normal heated and cooled home will have wild flucuations in emission, not alot of wind in a home, nor snow. Barometic pressures aren't going to increase or decrease the Radon pulled inside the home because the source is already there.

    And fluctuaing readings from soil based Radon are again not germane when the source is inside the home. Telling the difference between 4 and 20 is not a problem, after all a clock changes time constantly, but the elapsed time is what we are looking for. By your logic we couldn't use a speedometer on a car either!

    And the EPA has determined that when the Radon levels go up, cancer comes down? B. S. Link to that please, I'll believe it when I see it.

    And how can you refute BEIR VII on health risks? A whole lot more brains in that group than you can bring to the discussion.


  39. #39
    Richard Moore's Avatar
    Richard Moore Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Evans View Post
    If everybody believed that shag carpeting gave you acne, it wouldn't be remotely true, but you'd still be better off not putting shag carpeting in a house you wanted to sell.
    There's probably more "science" to that conclusion than hot counters. It's true that a higher percentage of people living in homes with cheap shag carpet have acne than those in higher end houses. That's obviously the carpet's fault and not that they tend to be young and without the funds for ointment. A dumb conclusion, but you could see it being used by someone selling knock-off Berber.


    There seems to be a similar pragmatic sense in which the possible radon effect (if it actually exists) of a granite countertop might be worth considering.
    And so the "solid surface" pushers win...just like that?

    Look, I don't actually know if granite poses a real problem, although I doubt it, but I am very wary of peoples motives when I read something like this...
    Digg - Alert - Granite Countertops - Radiation and Radon Danger


    WARNING: A significant percentage of dogs that spend their days lying on real wood decks have fleas!
    This public service announcement brought to you by the Composite Decking Materials Alliance.

    Last edited by Richard Moore; 08-19-2008 at 01:03 AM.

  40. #40
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Richard,
    there is zero logic in your statements. How is that the "pushers" win and if they do, why is it a problem? I guess replacing a dangerous material with a safer one is a bad thing? Don't the majority of members here make their living pointing out dangerous or shoddy materials or workmanship in homes? By your logic, someone is "winning" everytime you point out a code violation.

    The Digg alert is pretty short, with one long cut and paste comment from a stone trade association, NSRA.

    Really, what part of "high Uranium content" do you not understand?


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    OK, the test results are in!

    This past Friday I set three CRM's in a home that has granite counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms. I put one in the basement (SN 1028), one dead center in the kitchen (Femto-Tech) and on upstairs in a central hallway(SN 1027). All I charged my client for was the single CRM in the basement.

    I picked them all up yesterday.

    The basement reading was 2.7pCi/L
    The kitchen reading (with massive granite counter tops) was 5.1pCi/L
    The upstairs hallway (3 bathrooms upstairs) was 3.7pCi/L

    All three machines have been calibrated in the past 4 months. The home is on city water. It was clear with no rain or storms. The house is new construction and is vacant.

    I don't know, but this is kind of unusual. Just to confirm I have placed the Femto-Tech back in the kitchen location again. Should have the results back tomorrow.

    If anyone has the chance to do this, why not try it. It might be kind of intresting to see what we all come up with.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Just to confirm I have placed the Femto-Tech back in the kitchen location again.
    Scott,

    Why not try all three different ones in the kitchen at the same time?

    How about testing 20" above the center of the kitchen floor, 20" above the kitchen countertop, and 60" above the center of the kitchen floor - all the same type and all at the same time.

    That way you will be comparing the air sample from below the countertop level (20" above the floor) with the air sample 20" above the countertop with the air sample 40" higher above the first sample (i.e., 20" above the floor would be the sample to compare the other samples to, and the 60" high sample would be the breathing air at the center of the kitchen, the air which would be combination by the air above the floor and the air above the countertop plus room circulating air).

    Your test in the bedroom hallway which was higher than the basement, was it directly above the kitchen?

    If so, do you think that is the source of the higher reading in the upstairs hallway?

    If not, what do you think is the source of the higher reading in the upstairs hallway.

    Do it scientifically in that you are eliminating potential possible sources which are contaminating the readings from a given area - with the assumption being that the basement reading is the "ground radon reading" and that the other readings are "building material radon readings", and this would include *all* "building materials" in that "building material radon reading" - you might find that there is another cause of the higher reading in the upstairs hallway.

    How much time do you have on your hands?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  43. #43
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Great work, Scott. Welcome to this side of the issue.

    We get critisized for putting the meter under a bowl, but that is the surest way to prove that it is or isn't coming from the granite countertop. Granite tile floors have been known to put off a bit of Radon, might even check any brick or stone work in the home.


  44. #44
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Scott,

    Why not try all three different ones in the kitchen at the same time?
    I had paying jobs I needed them for!! But that is a very good idea and if I have the opportunity to do this again I will do it.

    Your test in the bedroom hallway which was higher than the basement, was it directly above the kitchen?
    Yes, it was almost directly above the kitchen.
    If so, do you think that is the source of the higher reading in the upstairs hallway?
    The home has three bathrooms upstairs, all with granite counter tops. Each bedroom had a bathroom and they were all within 20' form the test location in the hall.

    Do it scientifically in that you are eliminating potential possible sources which are contaminating the readings from a given area - with the assumption being that the basement reading is the "ground radon reading" and that the other readings are "building material radon readings", and this would include *all* "building materials" in that "building material radon reading" - you might find that there is another cause of the higher reading in the upstairs hallway.

    How much time do you have on your hands?
    Yep, time and free machines is all that I need.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  45. #45

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Good morning, Mr. Gerhart:

    The 4 pCi/L is a standard, splitting hairs doesn't make it less so.

    The 4 pCi/l is not a standard, and pretending it is doesn’t make it one.

    My understanding is that it came about from a calculation of $ per death.

    Nope. Wrong again. The 4 pCi/l came from a simple question that was originally posed which was: “Hey, guys, how low do you think we can get most houses if we start off at 20 pCi/l?” If you would like, you could always try and back up your claim by finding the original calculations that you are presuming exist.

    What you are advocating by claiming the EPA standard is too high is cheapening life.

    Wrong again. For a start, your comment is a subjective editorial on your part that can neither be substantiated and does not even accurately reflect what I advocate.

    We spend all kind of money preventing death and injury, this is no different.

    Yes we do. And we do so without regard for ensuring that the expenditure is commensurate with the actual risks. Just because you spend a lot of money on mitigating the risk, doesn’t mean the risk increases with the expenditure. As I have referenced here before, I suggest that you take a look at a classic article (America's Parasite Economy: The papers that ate America, The Economist, October 10, 1992). This was mandatory reading material in the Risk and Toxicology class I taught. Pity you didn’t get a chance to take it, you would have learned a lot about the difference between real risk, perceived risk, and public policy.

    Most of the other countries that have Radon/building material radiation standards also use something close to these levels.

    Of course they do. Why reinvent the wheel – when the US EPA sneezes, they catch the cold.

    Even BEIR VII supported ALARA and specifically dismissed Hormesis as a valid scientific fact.

    Really. Prove it. I can quote otherwise… in fact, I did, later in this post. Present here the language that supports both parts of your argument and validates the conclusions. You can’t, because you just made that up without understanding the implications of what you said.

    I agree there is a small fringe that believe in Hormesis, but it has yet to be proven as fact.

    Really? Funny, because so far, each of the EPA studies have recognized the hormetic effect, validated the hormetic effect, and discuss it at length. I have already presented those references on this forum … you don’t read much technical information on this subject, do you? In fact, clearly, you haven’t read much of the BIER IV or the EPA stuff either, otherwise you would realize that what you are saying is hogwash.

    The most compelling reason not to believe in Hormesis is that the HPS hasn't latched on to it.

    Now I know that you are just being silly on purpose.

    You quote a variety of reasons why Radon from countertops can't be measured,

    Time of day
    Time of year
    Indoor/outdoor temperatures
    Extant wind speeds
    Water table levels
    Barometric pressure fluctuations
    Snow cover
    Recent rain


    Nope. Wrong again. How can you be expected to be believable in representing the gravamen of scientific literature, when you can’t even properly understand what has been said on this board, just one post earlier? Goodness, just look up at my post, and you will see that you are completely wrong, and that I never stated what you just claim.

    I see little reason that a normal heated and cooled home will have wild flucuations in emission, …

    It would not surprise what you may or may not see, reason notwithstanding.

    Barometic pressures aren't going to increase or decrease the Radon pulled inside the home because the source is already there.

    You’re not very well versed in building dynamics either, I see.

    And the EPA has determined that when the Radon levels go up, cancer comes down? B. S. Link to that please, I'll believe it when I see it.

    Um… I doubt it. Link? Is the internet your sole source of info? That could explain a lot. However, how's this for a reference: Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes, United States Environmental Protection Agency; Air and Radiation (6608J) EPA 402-R-03-003, June 2003, Page 22:

    Unlike what was found with the more limited BEIR IV and ICRP analyses, the BEIR VI committee was able to conclude that the ERR per WLM increased with decreasing exposure rate or with increasing exposure duration (holding cumulative exposure constant).

    I'm guessing from your post, you don't have a clue what that means, do you? You aren’t particularly well read in this subject, are you Mr. Gerhart?

    And how can you refute BEIR VII on health risks?

    Answer: Simple – I don’t. I have read and actually understand what was said by the BIER committees, and the US EPA and others, and as I have stated here, and I agree with them. Each have stated they have not been able to conclude that there is any known risk, and the data demonstrate just what they said:

    …the BEIR VI committee was able to conclude that the ERR per WLM increased with decreasing exposure rate or with increasing exposure duration (holding cumulative exposure constant).

    So it begs the question, why do YOU dispute what the BIER committee have found? Answer: Because you only think you know what they said – but you have never actually read or understood what was published.

    A whole lot more brains in that group than you can bring to the discussion.

    I think you've demonstrated here that you're not in a credible position to make that judgement.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG

    Last edited by Caoimhín P. Connell; 08-19-2008 at 11:18 AM. Reason: reely bad sppelin'

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    We (if I can speak for the others here) are not disputing that some radon is coming from granite countertops. The question is how much does this radon from granite countertops contribute to the radon concentration in the air that people breathe in the house.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gerhart View Post
    We get critisized for putting the meter under a bowl, but that is the surest way to prove that it is or isn't coming from the granite countertop.
    The criticism stems from how your results are reported. If I may quote from the original New York Times article:

    The E.P.A. recommends taking action if radon gas levels in the home exceeds 4 picocuries per liter of air (a measure of radioactive emission); about the same risk for cancer as smoking a half a pack of cigarettes per day. In Dr. Sugarman’s kitchen, the readings were 100 picocuries per liter. In her basement, where radon readings are expected to be higher because the gas usually seeps into homes from decaying uranium underground, the readings were 6 picocuries per liter.
    How was the 100 pCi/L measurement obtained? Was that the radon concentration of the air in the kitchen as measured following EPA protocol (ignoring the protocol that says not to test in kitchen)? If so, there is indeed cause for alarm.

    Or was that the radon concentration under a bowl on the graninte countertop? If so (as I suspect), I think it is extremely disingenuous. That measurement in no way represents the radon concentration the occupants are exposed to in the kitchen or anywhere else. And to compare that measurement (that does not follow EPA protocol) to a basement measurement (that supposedly does follow EPA protocol) is just plain wrong.

    Let me make an analogy. (I cannot claim credit for this one.)

    We know that excessive heat can kill humans. There is a source of heat that can be found in every kitchen - the stove. Under normal use the stove may heat the kitchen up by a few degrees. But I want to show that the stove presents a grave danger to those living in the house.

    So I place a bucket over an eye of the cooktop and turn the eye to High. An hour later I take a temperature reading inside the bucket and find that it is several hundred degrees - more than enough to kill a person.

    Should I go to the New York Times with my findings?

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  47. #47
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Good morning yourself, Mr Connell. I see you want to play nasty, consider me in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Good morning, Mr. Gerhart:

    The 4 pCi/L is a standard, splitting hairs doesn't make it less so.

    The 4 pCi/l is not a standard, and pretending it is doesn’t make it one.

    Then explain why the EPA says if Radon is above that level, you should mitigate?

    My understanding is that it came about from a calculation of $ per death.

    Nope. Wrong again. The 4 pCi/l came from a simple question that was originally posed which was: “Hey, guys, how low do you think we can get most houses if we start off at 20 pCi/l?” If you would like, you could always try and back up your claim by finding the original calculations that you are presuming exist.

    Sure, I'll dig that up. They spoke about the cost to lower the Action level to two pCi/L, was like $6,000,000 per life saved.

    What you are advocating by claiming the EPA standard is too high is cheapening life.

    Wrong again. For a start, your comment is a subjective editorial on your part that can neither be substantiated and does not even accurately reflect what I advocate.

    No, you are advocating allowing higher Radon levels by minmizing the health aspects. Not sure why.

    We spend all kind of money preventing death and injury, this is no different.

    Yes we do. And we do so without regard for ensuring that the expenditure is commensurate with the actual risks. Just because you spend a lot of money on mitigating the risk, doesn’t mean the risk increases with the expenditure. As I have referenced here before, I suggest that you take a look at a classic article (America's Parasite Economy: The papers that ate America, The Economist, October 10, 1992). This was mandatory reading material in the Risk and Toxicology class I taught. Pity you didn’t get a chance to take it, you would have learned a lot about the difference between real risk, perceived risk, and public policy.

    From what I am seeing here, not sure I would have learned much beyond your "radiation is good for you" agenda. I prefer critical thinking to recieting by rote.

    Most of the other countries that have Radon/building material radiation standards also use something close to these levels.

    Of course they do. Why reinvent the wheel – when the US EPA sneezes, they catch the cold.

    Wow, Mr. Connell, you are smart. You have invented time travel or reversed cause and effect! The EPA doesn't have any building material/Radon standards but you say they somehow managed to get dozens of other countries to enact them. I guess in your world, the EPA sneezed and the EU enacted standards that the EPA thought worthless. One would think that the EU would be following in the EPA's footsteps from your statement.

    Even BEIR VII supported ALARA and specifically dismissed Hormesis as a valid scientific fact.

    Really. Prove it. I can quote otherwise… in fact, I did, later in this post. Present here the language that supports both parts of your argument and validates the conclusions. You can’t, because you just made that up without understanding the implications of what you said.

    Mr. Connell,
    you won't be the first "expert" that got his ears pinned back on these issues. Here is a Health Physicist Soceity press release that says low dose CAUSES CANCER. Got it? The legendary HPS, defender of nuclear power, Cat Scans, and the right to be wrong. 10 rem can cause cancer in 1% of those exposed.

    http://hps.org/documents/beirviipressrelease.pdf

    And here is the BEIR VII page that proves your claims of low level radiation being beneficial to be hogwash.

    Page 10 of the Excutive Summary of BEIR VII, second paragraph:

    "Before coming to this conclusion, the committee reviewed articles arguing that a threshold or decrease in effect does exist at low doses. Those reports claimed that at very low doses, ionizing radiation does not harm human health or may even be beneficial. The reports were found either to be based on ecologic studies or to cite findings not representative of the overall body of data."

    Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII Phase 2


    I agree there is a small fringe that believe in Hormesis, but it has yet to be proven as fact.

    Really? Funny, because so far, each of the EPA studies have recognized the hormetic effect, validated the hormetic effect, and discuss it at length. I have already presented those references on this forum … you don’t read much technical information on this subject, do you? In fact, clearly, you haven’t read much of the BIER IV or the EPA stuff either, otherwise you would realize that what you are saying is hogwash.

    Well Mr. Connell, looks like BEIR VII contridicts what you say, by the way, it is BEIR, not BIER. PLease scroll the page up and reread what BEIR VII stated.
    The most compelling reason not to believe in Hormesis is that the HPS hasn't latched on to it.

    Now I know that you are just being silly on purpose.

    No, you don't know. Please provide proof why BEIR VII should not be the definitive proof. From the HPS press release, they reject it as well. Tell me why we should believe you are right and all these hundreds and thousands of scientists are wrong?

    You quote a variety of reasons why Radon from countertops can't be measured,

    Time of day
    Time of year
    Indoor/outdoor temperatures
    Extant wind speeds
    Water table levels
    Barometric pressure fluctuations
    Snow cover
    Recent rain

    Nope. Wrong again. How can you be expected to be believable in representing the gravamen of scientific literature, when you can’t even properly understand what has been said on this board, just one post earlier? Goodness, just look up at my post, and you will see that you are completely wrong, and that I never stated what you just claim.

    But you did say that it was impossible to measure Radon, all of us can read what you wrote. Why not defend your statements? You are the one claiming expertise, time to show us you know what you are talking about.
    I see little reason that a normal heated and cooled home will have wild flucuations in emission, …

    It would not surprise what you may or may not see, reason notwithstanding. Not going to address that are, you? Why not?

    Barometic pressures aren't going to increase or decrease the Radon pulled inside the home because the source is already there.

    You’re not very well versed in building dynamics either, I see.

    Neither now nor then were we talking about buildings, we were talking about granite countertops. Prove why barometric pressures increase or decrease the Radon emission. I can see it would affect a crawl space.

    And the EPA has determined that when the Radon levels go up, cancer comes down? B. S. Link to that please, I'll believe it when I see it.

    Um… I doubt it. Link? Is the internet your sole source of info? That could explain a lot. However, how's this for a reference: Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes, United States Environmental Protection Agency; Air and Radiation (6608J) EPA 402-R-03-003, June 2003, Page 22:

    Unlike what was found with the more limited BEIR IV and ICRP analyses, the BEIR VI committee was able to conclude that the ERR per WLM increased with decreasing exposure rate or with increasing exposure duration (holding cumulative exposure constant).

    I'm guessing from your post, you don't have a clue what that means, do you? You aren’t particularly well read in this subject, are you Mr. Gerhart?

    Mr. Connell,
    you don't have many friends, do you? From your demeanor it is obvious you lack social graces, even common sense seems to have missed your bus stop. Excess relative risk per Working Level Month might have been reported as you say in BEIR VI, who knows because you refuse to link to it. But it doesn't take a college education to understand that BEIR VI came after BEIR VII. I suggest you learn the Roman Numeral system. I think we all understand that later studies or reports sometimes correct earlier work.

    What is your aversion to links? Put them up so anyone can read for themselves. If the info is as you say, it will prove your point. Or it will show that you are talking out of your hat.

    And how can you refute BEIR VII on health risks?

    Answer: Simple – I don’t. I have read and actually understand what was said by the BIER committees, and the US EPA and others, and as I have stated here, and I agree with them. Each have stated they have not been able to conclude that there is any known risk, and the data demonstrate just what they said:

    …the BEIR VI committee was able to conclude that the ERR per WLM increased with decreasing exposure rate or with increasing exposure duration (holding cumulative exposure constant).

    So it begs the question, why do YOU dispute what the BIER committee have found? Answer: Because you only think you know what they said – but you have never actually read or understood what was published.

    A whole lot more brains in that group than you can bring to the discussion.

    I think you've demonstrated here that you're not in a credible position to make that judgement.

    I would say otherwise Mr. Connell. I would say you are misconstruing the facts to support some sort of agenda. I would say the EPA says exactly the opposite of what you claim. We know several of the top guys at the EPA. I'll call Setlow tomorrow and ask him about your views. Had I seen this post earlier, I could have asked him today when he called.

    http://epa.gov/radon/healthrisks.html

    And what is it with that long disclaimer after your signature line? Why would someone post something that wasn't his "professional opinion"? And are are your "employers, agencies, peers, or other professional affiliates" ashamed of you or something? Did mom make you put that disclaimer in your posts? What???



    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG



  48. #48
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
    Al Gerhart Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    We (if I can speak for the others here) are not disputing that some radon is coming from granite countertops. The question is how much does this radon from granite countertops contribute to the radon concentration in the air that people breathe in the house.

    Bruce, that I can agree with you on, how much is the crucial question.


    The criticism stems from how your results are reported. If I may quote from the original New York Times article:



    How was the 100 pCi/L measurement obtained? With a very expensive Radon meter, in the open air, no cover or bowl on top. The emanation test done by Dr. Kitto (in a closed chamber) showed over 4,000 pCi/L. You guys need to understand that the bowl just proves where it is coming from. It is a way to show what is not easy to show.

    Was that the radon concentration of the air in the kitchen as measured following EPA protocol (ignoring the protocol that says not to test in kitchen)? If so, there is indeed cause for alarm. Where would you have us test for kitchen radon?

    Or was that the radon concentration under a bowl on the graninte countertop? If so (as I suspect), I think it is extremely disingenuous. Nope, no bowl involved. Please find out the facts before suggesting chicanary.

    That measurement in no way represents the radon concentration the occupants are exposed to in the kitchen or anywhere else. And to compare that measurement (that does not follow EPA protocol) to a basement measurement (that supposedly does follow EPA protocol) is just plain wrong. Again, how can you make these assertions without knowing the facts? Personally, I like to know someone is lying before I call them a liar. If you would send me an email, I will send you the email address of the guy that found the 100 pCi/L of Radon.

    Let me make an analogy. (I cannot claim credit for this one.)

    We know that excessive heat can kill humans. There is a source of heat that can be found in every kitchen - the stove. Under normal use the stove may heat the kitchen up by a few degrees. But I want to show that the stove presents a grave danger to those living in the house.

    So I place a bucket over an eye of the cooktop and turn the eye to High. An hour later I take a temperature reading inside the bucket and find that it is several hundred degrees - more than enough to kill a person.

    Should I go to the New York Times with my findings?
    Here is something that ought to show you guys that you are being skeptical, which is good, but you are not asking for the facts before making your mind up. The MIA made a complaint about this very issue, the NY state Attorney General office investigated. Once Dr. Kitto was interviewed, and you don't refuse to be interviewed by a AG, the investigation turned toward those who made the complaint, the MIA.

    Yes, the MIA is under investigation. I understand that consumer fraud, going back 14 years, is the charge.


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Al,

    Caoimhín can more than take care of himself, however, because you have the same reading problems that some who read my posts do, I will comment on this one for you, see if you can spot the differences.

    (hint, I will underline them for you)
    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    4) Whereas the radon in a counter top is roughly a steady state source, the radon concentrations in any particular home is a function of:
    Time of day
    Time of year
    Indoor/outdoor temperatures
    Extant wind speeds
    Water table levels
    Barometric pressure fluctuations
    Snow cover
    Recent rain
    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gerhart View Post
    You quote a variety of reasons why Radon from countertops can't be measured,

    Time of day
    Time of year
    Indoor/outdoor temperatures
    Extant wind speeds
    Water table levels
    Barometric pressure fluctuations
    Snow cover
    Recent rain
    Did you notice where you changed what was said to mean what you wanted it to say?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  50. #50
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Jerry,
    That is taken out of context. Connell is using soil based Radon info to dispute as steady state source. He also said.

    "As such, the short term radon measurements taken have a huge error associated with them in extrapolating the long term concentrations. "

    His entire point was that you couldn't measure soil based Radon accurately, so the difference in one or two pCi/L was meaningless.

    I would say you have a reading problem as well, from your comments is seems others would agree with me. Or is it just that you choose to read into things that others don't intend? Is it a reading problem or do you just not understand the gist of the conversation?

    (Hint, you need to consider the direction the conversation is going, not individual sentences) It is called context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Al,

    Caoimhín can more than take care of himself, however, because you have the same reading problems that some who read my posts do, I will comment on this one for you, see if you can spot the differences.

    (hint, I will underline them for you)




    Did you notice where you changed what was said to mean what you wanted it to say?



  51. #51
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quoting Mr. Gerhart's most recent reply to Mr. Connell:
    "But it doesn't take a college education to understand that BEIR VI came after BEIR VII. I suggest you learn the Roman Numeral system."

    Al,
    Please tell us there's a typo in there, before you lose any credibility you might have had left. Or what number did they start counting down from... Did I miss something?





    Ross Morgan
    Morgan Inspection Service
    (Boulder and other weird areas too)

  52. #52
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gerhart View Post
    Jerry,
    That is taken out of context. Connell is using soil based Radon info to dispute as steady state source. He also said.

    "As such, the short term radon measurements taken have a huge error associated with them in extrapolating the long term concentrations. "

    His entire point was that you couldn't measure soil based Radon accurately, so the difference in one or two pCi/L was meaningless.

    I would say you have a reading problem as well, from your comments is seems others would agree with me. Or is it just that you choose to read into things that others don't intend? Is it a reading problem or do you just not understand the gist of the conversation?

    (Hint, you need to consider the direction the conversation is going, not individual sentences) It is called context.
    HUH??

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  53. #53
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Oye!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  54. #54

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Good morning, Mr. Gerhart:

    Nothing personal Mr. Gerhart, but frankly, I think that you are bringing a knife to a gunfight. In any event, I will try to help you out.

    Standards:
    The 4 pCi/l is not a standard, and pretending it is doesn’t make it one.

    Then explain why the EPA says if Radon is above that level, you should mitigate?

    The answer lies in your own question: Then explain why the EPA says if Radon is above that level, you should mitigate?

    You recognize the correct word and you even use it in context (something you don’t do often, frankly). Let’s look at a real EPA standard. Since we are dealing with radon, and much of the contention that you dn’t understand comes from the NESHAPS, let’s look at another contaminant out of NESHAPS- asbestos. And look at what a real standard encompasses. In this case, we would go to the place where standards are located – a collection of documents called the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Title 40 of the CFR contains the EPA standards, and Part 763 contains (some) of the asbestos standards. Now, if we go to Paragraph 97 of that section we read language like:

    (a) Compliance with Title II of the Act. (1) Section 207(a) of Title II of the Act (15 U.S.C. 2647) makes it unlawful for any local education agency to:

    (i) Fail to conduct inspections pursuant to section 203(b) of Title II of the Act, including failure to follow procedures and failure to use accredited personnel and laboratories.

    (ii) Knowingly submit false information to the Governor regarding any inspection pursuant to regulations under section 203(i) of Title II of the Act.

    (iii) Fail to develop a management plan pursuant to regulations under section 203(i) of Title II of the Act.

    4) Section 16(a) of Title I of the Act (15 U.S.C. 2615) provides that any person who violates any provision of section 15 of Title I of the Act shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $25,000 for each such violation. Each day such a violation continues shall, for purposes of this paragraph, constitute a separate violation of section 15.


    And it goes on and on and on and on, long enough to ensure that I will be in business for awhile. This is an EPA STANDARD. Throughout the CFR you can read where the EPA, through legislated authority, has established actions that MUST be followed, and if the individual does not follow those protocol, and meet the specified attainment goals, they have committed a CRIME which is punishable by fines and/or prison sentences. In the case of radon, is a “recommendation” that one can do or not do or even just tell the EPA to eff-off with themselves without any kind civil penalty or retribution.

    The main reason? In most cases, such as asbestos, there is an absolute unquestionable hazard associated with various types of asbestos, and the science necessary to support the standard was sufficient to allow the standard to be promulgated. In the case of radon, no such standard will ever be promulgated, since in spite of thousands of man hours spent in studying the effects, we now know that there are no demonstrable health effects associated with radon concentrations as normally seen in houses. And in fact, the studies are demonstrating that as the radon concentrations elevate above non-detect to moderate levels, the risk of cancer actually goes down.

    Basis of the EPA recommendation

    Sure, I'll dig that up. They spoke about the cost to lower the Action level to two pCi/L, was like $6,000,000 per life saved.

    Again, you are getting confused about what you said, confusing time-frames and documents, (something, I see that happens a lot with you). What you are now referring to is not, as you originally stated, (the basis of the original 4 pCi/l recommendation), but rather you are now talking about a document that came AFTER the establishment of the 4 pCi/l recommendation. Since you are confused, I don’t know what you have read, but I suspect it is similar to the finding of the SNM Committee On Radiobiological Effects Of Ionizing Radiation, wherein the societal cost of testing and mitigation at the EPA recommended level was estimated at 44.5 billion dollars (1991), and that cost would rise to 101.2 billion dollars if scientists like me lowered the action level to 2 pCi/liter. Even at the NCRP action level, 8 pCi/liter, the cost is estimated at approximately 15 billion dollars.

    However, it is important to state that NOBODY, NOBODY, NOBODY, can estimate the cost per life saved, since NOBODY, NOBODY, NOBODY has demonstrated that a single life has been saved through the application of EPA recommended actions, and in fact, if the current EPA studies withstand the test of time, we will see that the radon mitigation systems that were installed may have actually increased the risk of cancer, and been the cause of more lung cancer related deaths than would have occurred by chance alone. I know you don’t understand what I just said, but it’s important for those who do follow these posts to see it again.

    Editorial
    No, you are advocating allowing higher Radon levels by minmizing the health aspects. Not sure why.

    No. Not true, Mr. Gerhart. And you will not be able to find a single comment that I made anywhere that can support your subjective editorial. By the way, please learn to use the lower case for radon; “radon” is not capitalized except by you and at the beginning of a sentence – the use of the word “radon” is exactly like the use of the word “air” or “benzene” or “gasoline.”

    Editorial
    From what I am seeing here, not sure I would have learned much beyond your "radiation is good for you" agenda. I prefer critical thinking to recieting by rote.

    Mr. Gerhart, with all charity, in your posts, you have demonstrated a complete lack of critical thinking, and instead you have cited tautology (or “rote” as you incorrectly call it). There is no part of any of your comments in this thread that have shown any elements of critical thought. I don’t mean that as a personal attack, it is just there for everyone to see. You get so much, so wrong, so often, on such a fundamental level, it is a bit embarrassing, and I am worried that I may be picking on someone I should not be picking on.

    Editorial
    Wow, Mr. Connell, you are smart. You have invented time travel or reversed cause and effect! The EPA doesn't have any building material/Radon standards but you say they somehow managed to get dozens of other countries to enact them.

    No, Mr. Gerhart, wrong again. Your lack of critical thinking skills has once again let you down. You have not even followed the logical progression of your own thought, let alone accurate characterized mine. You are demonstrating on this board that you are truly not very skilled in reading what is printed and thinking things through.

    Editorial
    Mr. Connell,
    you won't be the first "expert" that got his ears pinned back on these issues. Here is a Health Physicist Soceity press release that says low dose CAUSES CANCER. Got it? The legendary HPS, defender of nuclear power, Cat Scans, and the right to be wrong. 10 rem can cause cancer in 1% of those exposed.


    Mr. Gerahrt, this is not what we are discussing. Please try to stay on topic, and if you are going to present information and references, please try to make them germane to the discussion. Which actually is a good transition to your next comment. I’m not sure where you are going with the BIER VII quote, except that you don’t seem to understand its context.

    Spelling
    …by the way, it is BEIR, not BIER. PLease scroll the page up and reread what BEIR VII stated.

    Um.. Mr. Gerhart, people in glass houses should not throw stones. If I were to start nit-picking your spelling skills, I would lose the focus of how poorly you understand health physics and epidemiology.

    False Logic
    Please provide proof why BEIR VII should not be the definitive proof.

    As a scientist, Mr. Gerhart, I don’t engage in the impossibility of attempting to prove a negative. I leave that to confused people, Mr. Gerhart.

    False logic
    Tell me why we should believe you are right and all these hundreds and thousands of scientists are wrong?

    Wrong again, Mr. Gerhart. I am suggesting that these “hundreds and thousands of scientists” are RIGHT and we need to believe in what they have found – I am saying that the policy wonks in the EPA who have hi-jacked the findings of the vast majority of these “hundreds and thousands of scientists” and implemented public policy statements that are not supported by the findings of those very same scientists. Why should we believe you when you say these “hundreds and thousands of scientists” are WRONG and you, Mr. Gerhard, who can’t even figure out the simple progression of Roman numerals, is right.

    Clearly, Mr. Gerhart, your skills sets lie elsewhere, I recommend that you stick to whatever it is that you do, and leave science to scientists.

    Editorial
    But you did say that it was impossible to measure Radon, all of us can read what you wrote.

    No. Wrong again, Mr. Gerhart. It is difficult to understand how you can be so wrong, so often in such a short span of time. How can you expect to have any credibility in claiming to be able to interpret scientific data when you can’t even figure out what is being said to you directly, and which remains before you for instant reference. You have once again shown a complete lack of critical thought and instead you have attributed to me something that I never said. Please, try reading what I have written, before you conclude what it is that you want me to have said. Mr. Gerhart, straw-men do not make good debate fellows.

    False logic
    Why not defend your statements?

    Seems to me like I am doing a pretty good job. Why can’t you defend any of our arguments?

    False logic
    You are the one claiming expertise, time to show us you know what you are talking about.

    Again, it seems to me like I am doing just that. However, apparently your critical thought skills are apparently so vastly superior to mine, that you are seeing through my little ruse.

    False logic
    Neither now nor then were we talking about buildings, we were talking about granite countertops. Prove why barometric pressures increase or decrease the Radon emission. I can see it would affect a crawl space.

    Hoo boy. Mr. Gerhart, you can’t be serious. Are you really this confused? I think so. I think this statement, by itself, nicely summarizes how terribly confused, you really are, and how poorly you are able to both follow a steady line of thought and present one. Mr. Gerhart, we are discussing buildings. As far as proving that radon emissions increase or decrease please just go to, even, the EPA documents and start reading something about radon. You are embarrassing yourself.

    Editorial
    Mr. Connell, you don't have many friends, do you?

    Probably not in your circles, no.

    False logic
    But it doesn't take a college education to understand that BEIR VI came after BEIR VII.

    My face is in my folded hands and I am weeping.

    Legitimate question
    And what is it with that long disclaimer after your signature line?

    Because my work frequently takes me to court, where my work is used to present arguments before the trier of fact. Under those circumstances, the rules of presentation are very clear. On this board, however, the rules are much less stringent and I am allowed to use logical devices that are not otherwise permitted (such as humor). Since there are more than Home Inspectors who read these pages, and some of those people conduct depositions, and direct examinations, and cross examinations, I need to tell them, that my post is not a “work product,” it is akin to a conversation that you and I would have in a kitchen during a cocktail party.

    Legitimate question
    Why would someone post something that wasn't his "professional opinion"?

    Because I enjoy explaining things. It’s just my nature. I particularly enjoy taking foundationless myths and rooting out the facts. And fora such as this one provides me the opportunity to explain things to a wide variety of interested people; some of whom raise very good objections and excellent points.

    By contrast, professional opinions are documents that are prepared under specific rules of presentation. Those documents are required to meet specific standards, and are internally reviewed, and scrutinized, and painstakingly assembled; for which I am remunerated appropriately. This off-the-cuff posts are rattled off while I am sitting in my famously blue bathrobe, sipping my morning coffee.

    Rhetoric
    And are are your "employers, agencies, peers, or other professional affiliates" ashamed of you or something?

    No.

    Last dying gasp
    Did mom make you put that disclaimer in your posts? What???

    No.

    Mr. Gerhart – with all due respect. I don’t think you possess the mettle for the fight. Your own words testify against you. So, I will give you the last word, and then I’m afraid I won’t be debating you on radon issues from this point forward. From your perspective, just assume that you won! You beat me up! I confess that you are much more technically astute than I. Good job.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  55. #55
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Other than the tremendous amount of reading I have done since these radon threads started, I don't know crap about radon.

    What I will say from what I have read is that all of you with the radon measuring toys better put them away until the battle is done by the folks that do nothing but lab testing and conclusions are tallied and all the "experts" come to an understanding, and definitive reasoning and testing methods and the real health concerns with particular findings.

    Right at this moment the class is still going on and if I were any of you, what I would do is tell your clients that there is *nothing* definitive at this time where you can give them an absolute conclusion to your testing on whether or not there is any concern for their health. At the moment it appears that the only conclusive test you can do is to measure the radiation level in the products, give them the results of the radiation finding and give them the tremendous amount of links with this discussion and let them make their own conclusions.

    What your clients concern would be is something you can tell them with out any doubt in reserve that a particular product might have adverse health affects on them. Other than a high dose of radiation there is no definitive conclusion as an absolute as to the radon health risk.

    I have had so many x rays, Cat scans, mylograms, MRI's, and radiation pumped in for a heart stress test that it would seem that I should be dead now. I won't get into the serious amount of toxins and carcinogens that my body has sucked in and absorbed or asbestos I have inhaled.

    There are with out a doubt that here are a handful of people out there that low levels of almost anything is going to have an adverse affect on them.

    Can any of you tell any of your clients in the slightest that the radon in granite counter tops in there home is going to have an adverse health concern on *them* at this time.

    I think not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Is there a possibility, YES.

    Will they be hit by a car tomorrow, MORE LIKELY.

    Just my opinion.


  56. #56
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    4,517

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Ted,

    Its the end of the world as we know it.

    But I feel fine.


    rick


  57. #57
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gerhart View Post
    I would say you have a reading problem as well, from your comments is seems others would agree with me. Or is it just that you choose to read into things that others don't intend?
    Al,

    I read what a person writes. If you think they mean something other than what they write, then you should ask for clarification prior to restating their quote (which makes it no longer a quote) into what you wanted it to say.

    You called him on it, he responded by pointing out that you said he said something he did not say - and he is correct, you were incorrect.

    There is no way you can now reverse what you said he said he said (huh? hard to follow that myself ).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  58. #58
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    As someone stated in the other radon thread.

    I will take all the granite from anyones home near where I live off there hands.

    Anyone know of anyone in DFW that wants there granite counter tops hauled away. Not broken up.

    For every one person that decides to get rid of their granite I am sure there will be a 50 to 100 folks that will be glad to have their granite. (at a discounted price of course.

    How much is granite a square foot know???? Just to buy. Never mind install. Gees, the new great upstart business coming up.

    Hmmmm

    Entryway table tops, night stands, office space counters, bath vanity tops etc. etc.


  59. #59
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    1,217

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    HUH??
    It appears some of the previous posts have disappeared.

    I was responding to someone (Al Gerhart?) who referenced an article that stated that exposure to low levels of radon showed a health benefit. He asked if we should be recommending that clients install granite countertops for that health benefit.

    My point was - how much exposure to radon (and its associated radiation) is healthy?

    My contention is that no level of exposure to radon (or radiation) is safe. The less exposure the less health risk. To me it is foolish to say that low level of exposure to radon will in some way protect a person from lung cancer. It is like saying that smoking a half a pack of cigarettes every day will make you healthier and less prone to lung cancer than a non-smoker.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  60. #60
    Richard Moore's Avatar
    Richard Moore Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    I think that was me Bruce. Not deleted. Those posts are in another thread. The one about lawyers.
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...bandwagon.html


  61. #61
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Moore View Post
    I think that was me Bruce. Not deleted. Those posts are in another thread. The one about lawyers.
    [/URL]
    Thanks. This is getting very confusing with so many threads on the same topic.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  62. #62
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
    Al Gerhart Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Ross, thanks for catching that, posting too fast and not proof reading. I did reverse the roman numerals. My point was that Mr. Connell is using an older BEIR report to attempt to discredit a newer one. I think we all understand that new info always trumps the old, especially in science.

    As for my credibility, I seriously doubt that any of the posters here have the credintials nor is it apparent that they have the information to judge anything. Some of the Radon guys might have the ability for the radon portion, but not likely to be able to judge the radiation facts.

    Thanks for catching my mistake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Morgan View Post
    Quoting Mr. Gerhart's most recent reply to Mr. Connell:
    "But it doesn't take a college education to understand that BEIR VI came after BEIR VII. I suggest you learn the Roman Numeral system."

    Al,
    Please tell us there's a typo in there, before you lose any credibility you might have had left. Or what number did they start counting down from... Did I miss something?






  63. #63
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
    Al Gerhart Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    HUH??

    Jim, not saying that the posters here agree with me, I am saying that those who this guy regularly battles could possibly agree with me. What is the common thread? People are misunderstanding him, aparently constantly. My point is perhaps it is in his delivery of the facts.

    If you see hoofprints, look for horses before looking for zebras.


  64. #64
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    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gerhart View Post
    If you see hoofprints, look for horses before looking for zebras.
    Making sure I am 'keeping it in context' for you ... Al, doesn't that depend upon where you are?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  65. #65
    Al Gerhart's Avatar
    Al Gerhart Guest

    Default Re: Stone Countertops & Radon

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Other than the tremendous amount of reading I have done since these radon threads started, I don't know crap about radon.

    What I will say from what I have read is that all of you with the radon measuring toys better put them away until the battle is done by the folks that do nothing but lab testing and conclusions are tallied and all the "experts" come to an understanding, and definitive reasoning and testing methods and the real health concerns with particular findings.

    Right at this moment the class is still going on and if I were any of you, what I would do is tell your clients that there is *nothing* definitive at this time where you can give them an absolute conclusion to your testing on whether or not there is any concern for their health. At the moment it appears that the only conclusive test you can do is to measure the radiation level in the products, give them the results of the radiation finding and give them the tremendous amount of links with this discussion and let them make their own conclusions.

    Ted, I agree with you, all you can do is provide a measurement and let them decide for themselves. People will have different tolerances for health risks, one in a milllion is not a big deal for a guy. But I can tell you on two occasions when surveying slab yards, I had the owner's wife leave the building after she saw what we were finding.

    That is the crux of the matter, the perception of the risk and a normal woman's unwillingness to take even a tiny chance of harming her offspring.

    What your clients concern would be is something you can tell them with out any doubt in reserve that a particular product might have adverse health affects on them. Other than a high dose of radiation there is no definitive conclusion as an absolute as to the radon health risk.

    Again we agree, just tell people it is there, let them decide if the risk is worth it.

    I have had so many x rays, Cat scans, mylograms, MRI's, and radiation pumped in for a heart stress test that it would seem that I should be dead now. I won't get into the serious amount of toxins and carcinogens that my body has sucked in and absorbed or asbestos I have inhaled.

    All the medical radiation was done knowing there was a health risk, but the testing was thought to help prevent a larger health risk. A risk, but a worthwhile payout in return. As to the other toxins, surely you would avoid them if you could, surely you would want the right for your daughter, wife, or mom to know the presence of potential problems?

    There are with out a doubt that here are a handful of people out there that low levels of almost anything is going to have an adverse affect on them.

    Can any of you tell any of your clients in the slightest that the radon in granite counter tops in there home is going to have an adverse health concern on *them* at this time.

    Agreed, but we aren't talking about the "slightest amount of Radon. Wasn't the level found in the kitchen 5.7 pCi/L? The EPA says that carries a cancer risk, in so many per thousand exposed.

    I think not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Is there a possibility, YES.

    Will they be hit by a car tomorrow, MORE LIKELY.

    Just my opinion.
    Heck, I agree with most of what you say.


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