Marble Institute of America files complaint against Minnesota firm
October 22, 2007
The Marble Institute of America, a worldwide trade organization representing the natural stone industry, has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection against Home Safety Systems of Stillwater, MN, citing gross misstatements in a print and advertising campaign for its radon detectors. In its complaint, MIA alleges that statements in the advertising campaign are false and misleading and will cause confusion amongst the consuming public. In the campaign, Home Safety Systems alleges a direct correlation between granite countertops and dangerous levels of radon gas. MIA believes that sales of granite-based products throughout the natural stone industry will be negatively impacted if "this deceptive and factually inaccurate advertisement campaign is further disseminated." The MIA complaint goes on to state that: "The information contained within the advertisement raises unwarranted health and safety concerns regarding the use of granite countertops in personal residences. The content and insinuations made by Home Safety System's advertisements are deceptive and unfair practices." MIA, which has nearly 2,000 members around the world, including more than 1,500 in the U.S., further states "that before an advertisement may be published that raises health or safety concerns in relation to the use of a consumer product, the claim must be supported by "competent and reliable scientific evidence." "The conclusion reached by consumers who read and/or hear the Home Safety Systems advertisements is that the use of granite countertops may cause elevated levels of radon gas and possibly cancer," the MIA complaint goes on to state. "This conclusion has no reasonable basis and is not supported by competent or reliable scientific evidence." 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."