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GRANITE COUNTERTOPS CONTAIN RADON?
Unlike most e-mail scares, this one has a grain of truth—but there's no need to remodel your kitchen. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas concentrated in soil, water, and rock in various geographic areas, and it can seep into the air we breathe. "All granite emits some radon," says Daniel J. Steck, PhD, a professor of physics at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, who is conducting research on granite countertops for the Minnesota Radon Project. And radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking cigarettes. However, Steck says that countertops emit very low levels of the gas, and the risk to homeowners is tiny. If you're still concerned, you can check air levels with a home test (which costs $15 and up); get information about tests and certified radon technicians in your area at the EPA's Web site, EPA.gov/Radon. — Nancy Gottesman

Keep Reading: The truth about food technology: What's safe, what's not
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