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ABC television segment refutes New York Times article on granite and radon

September 8, 2008
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BALTIMORE, MD -- ABC's affiliate in Baltimore, MD, (WMAR-TV) recently aired a segment with two scientific experts to refute a July New York Times article regarding potentially dangerous levels of radon being emitted from granite countertops. "Today, experts are firing back, telling people long-time scientific evidence shows the stone is safe," said ABC investigative news reporter Joce Sterman.

The first scientific professional to appear was David Ropiek, the former director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, who intimated that the use of words like "radon" and "radiation" in these news reports are simply a means to cause excitement among readers and viewers. "It's scary to hear that, and so people have reported it as potentially not safe -- 'Radon and radiation, oh my gosh,' " he said.

Next was Jack McCarthy, President of Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc. "The levels we are finding are not excessive," he said. "We've done extensive measurements, and we are not finding levels of radon that would be dangerous to people in their home." Ropiek echoed McCarthy's comments, adding that the small amount of radon is further diluted by the air in a home. "The radon that may be coming from these countertops is diluted in a huge volumes of air, so the amount we breathe in isn't really dangerous," he said.

Sterman also read a statement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that confirmed the safety of granite for residential use. This statement reported: "Some granite used for countertops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels. At this time, however, EPA does not believe sufficient data exists to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels." To view the clip, visit the following link and click on "Quick View": http://media.vmsnews.com/MonitoringReports/090508/896185/T001511294/.

A print version of the story can be found at: http://www.abc2news.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=38757159-9197-4d9c-ae4d-4f448cedfe11&rss=702

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