Apparently a few of the ones with exotic striations have enough radioactive mineral content that you might have to worry if you spent many of your waking hours strapped to them as to a hospital gurney. (Staying even a few inches away should be enough to lower the risk to pretty much zero, which is fortunate given that the posture most of us use while chopping celery does not involved prolonged whole-body contact.) Nonetheless, per a New York Times account yesterday that does little to discourage reader alarmism, “Personal injury lawyers are already advertising on the Web for clients who think they may have been injured by countertops.” (Kate Murphy, “What’s Lurking In Your Countertop?”, Jul. 24).
Let me be the first to predict that if such litigation has any future, it will not be in recovering large sums for the unprovable (because almost certainly nonexistent) toxic effects, but in $20,000 claims against insurers and contractors for rip-out and replacement*, which, in the usual circular fashion, will be stimulated by alarmist accounts like the one in the Times. And the predominant injury risk from a chunk of hewn granite will continue to be, as it has always been, being in the way when it drops.
*I’m not sure why people choose a countertop material that will dull their knives and chip their china, to say nothing of being cold and ungrateful to the touch. But that’s another topic.
P.S. The EPA has a statement (scroll).