Juparana Bordeaux, usually called Bordeaux for short, has earned a reputation for having higher than normal radiation levels. First the Houston TV report named it, then the samples sent to scientists turned out to be elevated as well. Lots of chatter on the internet on Bordeaux, enough that the stone has earned a really bad reputation.
So what would one do with a product in inventory that had earned a bad reputation? Return it to the company that sold it to you? Dump it in a land fill? Perhaps be responsible and send it to an Uranium processor and turn it into nuclear film?
Why no silly! We are talking about the granite industry. Apparently you just change the name of the stone, offer it at a cut rate price, and move the product out the door. The pictures below are from Apex Marble at 2455 Stevens Creek Blvd in San Jose, Bordeaux being sold as “Red Galaxy” or “Diamond Red” depending on which salesman was asked. This stone averaged 50 to 70 uR/hr (microroetgens per hour), which is 12 to 17 times background radiation levels.
Click on picture thumbnails to enlarge, then use the back button to return to the site.
And another Bordeaux measured at another yard
This article is about the differences between a govt funded study and an industry funded study. Most of us would be skeptical of any study funded by an industry group, but is it chicanery or subtle biases that skew the results?
In looking at studies done on plastic bottles with BPA content, this is what was found:
” More than 90 percent of the 100-plus government-funded studies performed by independent scientists found health effects from low doses of BPA, while none of the fewer than two dozen chemical-industry-funded studies did. ”
A close rorrelation between the funding source and the studies result is called the “funding effect”. Apparently the scientists make decisions about methods, exposure methods and definitions they use and each decision affects the result of the study.
There is little debate about the existence of the funding effect, but what was suprising was how it often effected the studies. Assuming it was shoddy science or manipulation turned out to be quite wrong, malpractice happens, but it seems that the quality of the studies was not the problem.
Instead, the problem turned out to be asking the right question in the study. If the scientist wants to make his sponsors product look better than the competition, all he has to do is compare the product to one that doesn’t work well, use a higher or lower exposure or dose or publish a single study many times to creat the appearance of supporting studies when in fact there is only one.
There was no surprise when the tobacco companies were found to be experts at this type of “research”, and the editors of scientific journals concluded that having a stake in the outcome made studies suspect regardless of the reputation of the scientists involved.
De linking the research was found to be the answer, something that your average Joe or Jane could have pointed out without a study.
Some one should tell this to the MIA. The major difference between our effort and theirs is that our effort is depending completely on independent researchers and organizations to do the science. Having little cash is an asset, no money to hire it done and the ability to interest researchers to look into these issues will insure that we don’t fall into the trap that the MIA has blundered into, using unpublished studies from hired consultants.
Wow, stunning hypocrisy. The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has announced that Schechner Lifson Corp., a preferred provider of insurance and safety management services for the stone industry, is introducing a pollution liability policy which includes coverage for radon damages.
“This policy will enable fabricators, installers and distributors to insulate themselves and their businesses in the event of a suit or loss in cases involving radon and silica.”
““Considering the current issue regarding possible radon emissions from granite countertops, this new policy is very important for the industry,”
The Insurance company requires a three year policy, and needs to see the last three years loss history on a company before issuing a policy. Limits available for the pollution coverage range from $1,000,000 per occurrence up to $10,000,000, with a $5000 deductible. The cost starts at $3000 per year. Limits on Radon exposure were not given.
Seems the MIA is thinking this Radon controversy might affect the bottom line and is advocating procuring insurance, just in case….
The stone industry is claiming that common food stuffs are more radioactive than granite countertops. This video dispells that claim. Potatoes, both Idaho and Red varieties are tested, along with bananas.
I guess the object is to make granite safe in comparison to food. To me it shows desparation that leads to smearing other products without basis.
This video shows background radiation levels, so that you can compare the claims the MIA is using againt the facts. Also measured is a concrete sidewalk, to show that concrete is not anywhere near as radioactive as the MIA claims.
Their idea is that if people believe that many common items and materials are radioactive, they will be more likely to accept radioactive granite countertops.
Compare these readings to the one to 13 mR readings of granite countertop slabs.
No doubt this was bound to happen, but the audacity of the claims are amazing. I love that they say this from a page that continues to claim that radiation from granite is a myth, while shilling a product and discussing radiation in granite.
I claims that it can eliminate Radon emission from granite, and can eliminate staining and scratching of natural stone. Quite a lot to live up to for a coating only 1 micron thick.
“The alpha and beta particles do not penetrate very far and are usually absorbed by the base material. The gamma rays are more penetrating and they are what is detected by a Geiger counter. ”
Well, actually Beta can go quite far, sometimes severl meters. A sheet of paper might stop most alpha, but it remains to be seen if this product will reduce the Alpha from granite. One thing that is troubling, is the claim that only Gamma are detected by a Geiger Counter when in fact all three types of radiation are detected. The lack of understanding of the basic tennants of radiation make me wonder just what kind of expert they used to develop this product.
” If all surfaces of a material were coated, then the diffusion of gases from the material should be eliminated.”
Well, perhaps if the back and side edges, the bottom of the slab and the product was put on thick enough, it might block some of the Alpha. But it takes 1/8″ of Plastic or 1 mm of aluminum sheet stock to block the Beta radiation. No way a one micron layer will prevent the Beta or Gamma from coming out. Even 4″ of lead stops only 83.5% of Gamma.
Another troubling thought is if this product is compatible with previous sealers or slab resins. And the MIA has warned for many years that natural stone can not be sealed completely without damage occuring,
“Certain topical sealers may block the “breathing” capability of a stone. Moisture can become trapped below the surface and may lead to spalling”
“In some situations, impregnating sealers applied to a resined stone will cause the material to cloud, discolor, or fade. While this is a new topic in the stone industry, some initial reports have indicated that the application of a color enhancer may hide the problem. Additionally, the problems have occurred with solvent-based vs. water-based impregnators. It is highly recommended that you consult with the Sealant Manufacturer prior to applying a sealer to a resined stone.”
So while it is unlikely these products will work, they may certainly bring plenty of issues along for the ride. The uncertainty of so many aspects of these products have earned them the name “Lawsuit in a bucket”. Kudos go out to the stone industry for admitting that an issue exists, but this needs thouroghly tested before being turned loose in the market place.