'Early Show' Fuels Granite Countertop Radiation Fears

Just when you thought it was safe to cook in your kitchen, it turns out your kitchen might be cooking you. At least that is what CBS's "The Early Show" led viewers to believe on July 25.

Co-host Harry Smith warned viewers about what might be "lurking inside" granite countertops - radioactivity.

"There's granite all over the place in modern kitchens, sometimes you have a little breakfast nook. You sit there; you may sit there hours and hours and hours in a day ... I mean some people have gone so far as to tear their kitchen counters out because of the concern," said Smith to Stanley Liebert, the quality assurance director at CMT Laboratories.

Liebert said radon gas, a "carcinogen gas that we inhale [that] causes lung cancer," is emitted from certain types of granite and could be harmful.

Smith showed some skepticism saying, "I'm having a difficult time getting my head around the idea that the countertops in your home might literally be dangerous." But he didn't include any representatives of the industry in the story.

The New York Times covered the story July 24 and included industry comment from the Marble Institute of America, a trade group that represents the fabricators of granite.

The Times said allegations of radon and radiation in granite counter tops have been raised periodically over the past decade, "mostly by makers and distributors of competing countertop materials."

The Marble Institute of America told the Times the recent claims were "ludicrous" because although granite is known to "contain uranium and other radioactive materials like thorium and potassium, the amounts in countertops are not enough to pose a health threat."

Liebert was also quoted in the Times article saying, "It's not that all granite is dangerous, but I've seen a few that might heat up your Cheerios a little."

Business Coverage CBS New York Times Early Show Video Stanley Liebert

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