The Marble Institute of America (MIA) announced that it has created the "Truth About Granite Fund" to help finance a campaign to stop spurious allegations attempting to link granite countertops to the threat of cancer.

The fund was launched with a $5,000 inaugural gift from the Natural Stone Council and a matching pledge from Cold Spring Granite of Cold Spring, MN, said Jim Hogan of Carrara Marble Company of America and the current president of MIA.

"We know who is behind the spate of misinformation and why they are doing it -- to discredit granite and push the sales of quartz-based synthetic stone countertops," Hogan said. "The misinformation campaign is being driven through front groups that purport to be consumer advocates, but are merely trying to create consumer fears about natural stone. We must aggressively fight the unfounded fear mongering to reassure the public."

Calling the anti-granite campaign a major threat to the granite portion of the natural stone industry, Hogan said MIA has already invested $50,000 of unbudgeted funds to stem attempts to scare consumers about granite. He said that amount could increase dramatically by year's end.

"It is important that we have all the legal, technical, public relations and marketing/advertising tools we need to protect the good name of granite and to reassure consumers that granite is as safe as it is beautiful, durable and practical," Hogan explained.

In a letter to MIA members, he stressed that the anti-granite campaign could create substantial financial losses for the industry if it is not challenged aggressively.

"Your support is vital," Hogan said in asking for immediate pledges for the fund from quarriers, fabricators, distributors and others in MIA and the rest of the natural stone industry.

The Truth About Granite Fund will be a special segregated account whose expenditures will be overseen by the MIA executive committee. Contributions to the fund should be sent to Marble Institute of America/Truth About Granite Fund at 28901 Clemens Rd, Suite 100, Westlake, OH 44140.