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Another Radon study turned up
Last Post 27 Nov 2007 04:38 AM by al. 106 Replies.
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al
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09 Nov 2007 01:29 AM
    This study is a few years old, but it potentially severed the link between smoking and Radon caused cancer cases.  Supposedly smoking, which has been blamed for an increase in cancer cases in those exposed to high Radon levels, is not completely to blame.   The study  has been subjected to peer review by publishing 25 times in professional medical journals.
    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    al
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    11 Nov 2007 03:20 AM

    A Board member of the National Radon Safety Board gave me a lead on some testing done on granite and marble countertop materials.   Supposedly the Marble is dangerous only if cracked and if you have a ton or more in the home.    I knew that Marble, like all sedimentary rock, could contain more radioactive minerals but marble supposedly  was better at containing the decay products.

    Last job we did in granite was almost two tons in the kitchen alone.   Full of fissures too. 

    I am still looking for the study the guy told me about, have asked for more info.  I did run across a New York state site that said that some building materials could release radon into homes.  They say that all homes should be tested for Radon.

    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    al
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    14 Nov 2007 02:18 AM

    Bingo....

    New York State Heath department is doing the Radon testing on granite and marble.    Not done yet, but they thought it credible enough to put a PhD lead team on the effort.   I got in contact with them and they forwarded my questions on to the PhD guy.    Should have some info available soon.

    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    kdnoel
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    14 Nov 2007 03:26 AM
    Great news Al... maybe they can put your concerns to rest and you can sleep at night.
    Kevin D. Noel
    al
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    15 Nov 2007 02:40 AM

    Heard back from the Phd that did the study.  It was actually completed and presented to his peers at the 2005 International Radon Symposium.     I am trying to track down a copy of the Procedings.

    Here is a quote from the study :

     "some granite countertops have the potential to influence indoor radon levels."

    and they tested only eight granite samples, might have been thin tile.....

    A couple of guys from the EPA are helping me track down some stuff, including the Kitto granite study.   The industry people I have been in contact with are really helpful, probaly tired of the issue being minimized.

    The Home Safety Systems battle with the MIA is heating up, here is a link to their side of the story.

    If HSS has quoted the MIA email correctly, this issue has them running scared.   When people are scared, they do stupid things.    Generating publicity on this matter might be the straw that broke the camel's back.   Did anyone see that story on the big city mayor race up north, some little guy  with almost zero name recognition upset the incumbent mayor after the campaign turned to mud slinging, which gave the little guy massive and instant name recognition at the polls.

    The guy spent like ten grand for his campaign against the incumbents millions of campaign dollars.

    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    Tom M
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    15 Nov 2007 03:56 AM
    Al, It seems the narrative stops at the end quote. I didn't get that at first and thought the rest was connected. You might want to edit the bold out.

    Sorry for the housekeeping note.

    I'm glad to see the other side of the story. I will read the site a bit. It does kind of start out in a podunk propagandist manner with the tobacco tie in. Poor attempt at playing politics with the issue. They need to study the Clinton campaign some more. That'll learn 'em.

    It is good to read their side of the story. A lot of what they say makes sense. Still won't help us solve the 'radon safe or no?' debate.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    -C.S. Lewis
    Tom M
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    15 Nov 2007 04:14 AM
    Al, they need to realize that the statements that the MIA puts out is the best weapon they have. The MIA quotes are pretty silly, after all. When they start throwing out the "He's a paid flack for the industry" crap they really start to lose me. For crying out loud, this is pulling double duty as an ad of sorts for a product they are selling. What they need to pray for, is this becoming an item on CNN or Fox morning tripe. They'll clean up (so to speak).

    The most powerful thing they have is the obviously inside baseball stuff the MIA put out, and that alone puts the MIA in a bad light. The MIA blows it's wad with the "House made from granite countertops" mung (thanx Dave!).

    The "What's the Truth? section would be ten times stronger if they link marked the claims.

    Still, they score some points.

    I do think they don't "pushg the sale" too much on the kits. That shows at least a bit of class.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    -C.S. Lewis
    al
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    15 Nov 2007 04:21 AM

    Tom,

    I noticed the bold when I wrote it, but thought the quote marks would make it clear.     I guess the copy and paste set the bold in the reply window.

    One thing that there is no debate on is that Radon is killing people, no one except the stoners claim otherwise.   I have yet to see anyone with any experience or education in this field say that there is a safe level of Radon exposure,  the multiple studies done on the subject prevent  reasonable people from taking that stance.   

    The only thing lacking is a study that asks cancer patients if they have or have had granite countertops.  Granite has Radon emissions and Radon kills are two beyond debate facts.   All that is left to debate is the amount each individual slab will emitt and how many people per thousand will develop cancer due to the increased dose of Radon daughter particles inhaled.  

     It might be 5 per thousand or it might be .5 or .05 per thousand, but I believe that with a population of 300 million people using the .5 and .05 figures , we need to remember that we are talking about between 15 million and  150,000.  Or reduce it to .0005 and say only 500 people will die from the additional exposure.

    This study, conducted by a Phd working for the state of New York Health Dept.   You don't get any more objective than that.   The stoners are claiming that this guy is being fiananced by some of the Quartz companies.    I read the latest over at the SFA site and these boys have their panties in a wad over the entire issue of Radon and granite.

    I think the big tobacco slant is fair.   Not that Radon is as dangerous as cigarettes, just the denial of a problem to protect their businesess.

    So how dangerous are granite countertops  is still in play.

    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    al
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    15 Nov 2007 04:33 AM

    Oh, we cross posted.  My bad.

     

    Here is the latest MIA response to the issue, pretty new stuff.  I'll fisk it in a few days.   I did a cursory fisk in a reply to the EPA guy that sent me the link to it, but there is more.

    I agree that calling the 1995 geologist chemist dude a flack was playing rough, but they might have a point.  The guy's statements aren't defensible anymore, and unlike most studies I have read, the guy didn't state his opinions with any wiggle room for future facts or other scientists work to add to the debate.   His 1995 letter to the MIA was a paid flack peice pure and simple.   Of course the guy was retiring or had retired that year, so he had less to lose.

    MIA's comments are also pulling double duty.

    I agree that they should have linked to the actual proof.

    CNN and FOX, well that is part of operation Kevin D. Noel, I am working on that angle as well.    Working on some contacts, low level while I line up the experts from the Radon field, then get the two sides together.  It will happen.....

    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    Tom M
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    15 Nov 2007 04:54 AM
    I agree that calling the 1995 geologist chemist dude a flack was playing rough, but they might have a point.

    Funny thing about the cross-post is you showing the MIA pulls the same bull. That's when the discussion gets stupid.

    1st, it shows breathtaking hypocracy on both sides, and

    2nd, of course these guys are paid by the respective industries! Of course they have skin in the game. It's silly to claim otherwise, and completely unnecessary.

    You moved the meter a bit in this direction. Good one.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    -C.S. Lewis
    Randy Evans
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    16 Nov 2007 03:12 AM
    I don't have the technical knowledge required to offer a credible opinion about the radon-in-granite issue.  I have followed some of the links provided here, and googled some of the organizations cited.  It would seem to me to be important to consider a couple of things, before coming to a conclusion about some of this info:

    The "International Radon Symposium" at which the PhD presented the information to his "peers" was presented by the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists.  This sounds impressive, until you look at the AARST website and discover that an overwhelming majority (over 90%, probably) of the members are private companies in the radon testing and mediation business.  This doesn't appear to be an academic organization, or an academic symposium at which a scientist would present information to "peers".  It looks like a trade organization that invites scientists to present information consistent with its purposes.

    The "National Radon Safety Board" appears to be another industry group, which occupies the same building in Elmsford, NY, as a private radon testing company.

    Again, I make no pretense at claiming knowledge about the merits of the claims made and implied by this thread.  I also don't mean that these industry organizations have done or said anything wrong.  It just seems to be relevant and important to consider the interests and perspectives of the organizations and sources cited.  If it turns out that granite countertops present a real radon danger to homeowners, there should be data that can stand on its own without having to also discuss the influence of organizations that make their money testing for and mediating radon in buildings. 
    Randy <br><br>The Hold Steady is the best band in America!
    al
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    16 Nov 2007 03:33 AM

    Here is what Stone World said about the matter:

    "Renowned geochemist Donald Langmuir, Ph.D. has issued several publications regarding this very topic. Dr.Langmuir received his geochemistry Ph.D. from Harvard University, and is a respected expert in natural stone and geochemistry fields. In one publication, Dr.Langmuir concludes that: "The amount of radon released from a typical granite countertop is certain to be completely negligible and well below detection by any know method of radioactive analysis." Dr.Langmuir goes on to state that "I would suggest that a good way to reduce our exposure to radon present in outdoor air would be to build an air-tight house out of granite countertops."

    What both Stone World and the MIA aren't saying is that the publication they are refering to is the peice the MIA paid Langmuir to do.   The paragraph above is from here.    Breathtaking hypocracy is a good description as any.

    Yah know, even I have enough sense not to lie.  I tell people not to trust me cause I am a nice guy because I may not be nice to them, but to trust me to act in my best interests.    As long as their interests and mine are the same, they can trust me completely.   That works well for selling cabinets and tops, they want a good job and my best interests is providing them a good job so that I get paid and get good word of mouth.   How is it that an organization like the MIA expects to get away with this?   Poor leadershiip?    Blinded by their own propoganda?   Or is this simply the only thing left,  when the science is against you, sling BS ,  ridicule, or use personal attacks to attempt to minimize the opposition.

    Isn't this alot like politics?   Speaking to your base instead of the reasonable undecided?   Yet how much is responding in kind and how do you separate it all?

    I think that both parties are leaning pretty far on a ladder.    I also think from what I have been reading on the subject, the MIA doesn't have much to back their claims, or they would have used them by now.  

    You know, the point you made a while back about almost any statement about granite can be true, at least for one variety.   I wonder if that is one of the problems for the MIA, being used to multiple answers to the same questions?

    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    al
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    16 Nov 2007 03:59 AM

    Randy,

    So the MIA is any different?    Are you saying that if the MIA uses an expert at a stone show, that blows their crediblitiy for all time?   Is the MIA member list 90% stone industry folks, or higher?

    I see a  awful lot of home inspection companies on the AARST member list, engineering companies, county health dept workers, state health dept workers,  Canadian health dept workers, building material suppliers,bulders, Radon labs, some electrical and plumbing companies, University fauculty members, even the president works for a University.   I did a rough count on two pages of the member list and it looks like there are more members not in the Radon business than are in it.

    Or let's for the sake of arguement say I am wrong, that more than 30% of the members are in the Radon inspection or remeadiation business.    Exactly what would you expect their membership to be drawn from?   Funeral homes?

    Fabnet occupies the same building as Andy's countertop shop.   How does that impact matters?

    And there is date available, the very study we are discussing, the 2005 research of the Phd dude that works for the New York State Health Dept.    He was not paid to do the study, or paid for his opionion like Langmuir or what ever his name was.

    Shouldn't we consider that the MIA is a stone industry organization when considering their actions and experts as well?

    What convinces me the most is reading about the panic over at Stoneadvice.com .   If the science wasn't against them, they would be flogging it like a rented mule.

    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    al
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    16 Nov 2007 04:32 AM

    Here is part of a thread over at the SFA site :

    "I've just tested my own granite countertop this week with a Honeywell professional continuous radon monitor. The radon that comes from granite is insignificant.

    The average radon level in my basement was 1.0 picoCuries per Liter of air (pCi/L). I placed the monitor on my granite countertop and the average was 1.1 pCi/L. The difference is 0.1 pCi/L compared to the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L. When I sealed the monitor with clear plastic against the countertop, the level went up to 9 pCi/L. This is because the radon got trapped inside a small volume of air (less than 1 liter). This concentration is diluted by the large volume of air inside the house so the increase in overall concentration is insignificant, maybe even less than the amount of radon released from well water when someone takes a shower. I will be testing on different kinds of granite in the future and will keep you all posted."

    I see that as a ten percent increase in Radon level.    Then taping plastic down caused the rate to jump to 9 pCi/l.  No mention of how long the detector was left in place or if the directions for testing were followed.

    I think the stoners are taking this very, very, seriously.   That would be good....

    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    Randy Evans
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    16 Nov 2007 01:13 PM
    [QUOTE]al wrote

    Randy,

    So the MIA is any different?    Are you saying that if the MIA uses an expert at a stone show, that blows their crediblitiy for all time?   Is the MIA member list 90% stone industry folks, or higher?

    [/QUOTE]

    Al, I'm not suggesting that the MIA is any different at all.  That's really my question, I think.  Does the other side of this debate suffer from the same questions about bias and a lack of objectivity that the MIA obviously does?   Clearly, the companies that are selling radon detectors have an interest in the outcome.  It just looks to me like the National Radon Safety Board and the AARST may be in the same boat, or at least one that is similar.  I got the sense from this thread that you were thinking that they were not as connected to a commercial purpose.  (I was certainly thinking that, based on their names, until I checked them out.)

    I'm not trying to oversell this, either.  Either side could have "good science" to present.  In a deal like this, it's just a lot more impressive if a study is financed and presented by an academic source without a connection to either of the interested sides.
    Randy <br><br>The Hold Steady is the best band in America!
    Tom M
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    16 Nov 2007 02:01 PM
    Does the other side of this debate suffer from the same questions about bias and a lack of objectivity that the MIA obviously does?

    Randy, yup. They sure do. That's why, as both you and Al have suggested, the data is the key, and the data needs to be analyzed and qualified.

    We're all old enough to realize that these debates happen between interested parties. It doesn't mean the findings are false, just as it doesn't mean the other party's responses are bunk, just because they are defending their turf.

    I just hope we're old enough to do this in a polite and fair manner. I believed in Tinkerbell, though, so I shouldn't get my hopes up.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    -C.S. Lewis
    Randy Evans
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    16 Nov 2007 03:56 PM

    Thanks for your post, Tom.  Maybe I need to jump back in here real quick and explain a little of why I posted what I did.  I never thought of it as any sort of "gotcha" post, and if it looked that way I think I can clarify.

    • I started out thinking of this issue as having most recently  involved a debate between the stone industry and the radon detector industry (in terms of the Paul Harvey ads, etc...  I know the issue has been around longer, but it has heated up lately based on that.) 
    • In reviewing this thread and surfing to sites based on references made here, I came across references to the National Radon Safety Board, and the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists.
    • I presumed that the first was a regulatory or quasi-regulatory body, and that the second was an academic/research entity.
    • My interest was piqued significantly, because I'd expect them to be more objective and even-handed than either the folks selling stone or the folks selling radon detectors.  I thought they might have interested but relatively unbiased perspectives on the particular issue of granite countertops.
    • I explored further, and discovered that both at least appear to be more like trade associations than the kinds of bodies I erroneously presumed them to be.
    • I posted what I did, I guess to help others avoid my own false assumptions as much as anything.

    I completely agree with you that it isn't fair or justified to disregard any claims, particularly scientific claims, that they may make, based merely on their connection to the radon detection/mediation industry.   It does seem to be at least relevant to the discussion that this connection exists, for the same reason that it is relevant that the "build a house out of granite countertops" study has a connection to the MIA.   I don't see any of this (on either side) as a "smoking gun" kind of deal, but just something to bear in mind.

    I'm still hoping that a study or studies might be found, or new ones done, where the funding and the results are not so tied to one of these sides or the other.  Maybe something from the public health field, as an example.

    Randy <br><br>The Hold Steady is the best band in America!
    Tom M
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    16 Nov 2007 04:12 PM
    Randy,
    I didn't take it as a "gotcha" at all. It's unfortunate that the early players in all conflicts are interested parties, but if not for them, no one would be at the helm at all.

    The facts, therefore, always need to be filtered through the prism of the bias and interests of each respective side. That's our job.

    Politics and TV talking heads taught me this unfortunate facts.
    We'll get through it.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    -C.S. Lewis
    al
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    17 Nov 2007 01:49 AM

    I don't doubt that the National Radon Safety Board and the AARST members work in the Radon remediation business or education business.    Who else would give a rats patoee?   The fact remains that there are multiple govt and university members, along with the president of the organizaiton.

    And that study was done by a New York state employee.   He doesn't make money off Radon, so why should his work be minimized?    So he revealed this study at the 2005 Radon conference, did you expect  it to be unveiled at a porn industry show in Vegas?

    I well understand the Radon detector company and the MIA's statements have to be scrutinized, but why  tarr a public scientist with the same brush?

    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    Tom M
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    17 Nov 2007 01:56 AM
    Advantage: radon is bad guys.


    If this turns into another Alar, I'm gonna scream till I'm bloody-well blue in the face.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    -C.S. Lewis
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