Monday, August 04, 2008

Counter tops

And so the much anticipated kitchen remodel begins in less than two weeks. Hubs' parents will be in town - Yei Yei will help Hubs demo and prep the kitchen for the contractor to install the cabinets, while Nee Nee will play with Chase and help me stay sane.

The custom cabinets have been ordered. We have selected the tile. Now we are evaluating counter tops. Who knew that the counter top would be the hardest part?

We've decided (okay, I've decided) we are going green. I just need something that isn't going to emit radon and radiation (like granite), something without toxic polymers and sealants, and something that is going to be a safe and sanitary cooking surface. Is that so much to ask? Apparently it is.

So being everso slightly obsessive compulsive, I have contacted a number of stone vendors in the area, as well as "green builders." And while they say their stone is safe, they can't actually provide me with recent radiation/radon readings. The green builder wasn't even aware there might be a problem with granite counter tops.

The New York Times recently wrote an article about radon and radiation coming from granite counter tops and noted "The E.P.A. recommends taking action if radon gas levels in the home exceeds 4 picocuries per liter of air (a measure of radioactive emission); about the same risk for cancer as smoking a half a pack of cigarettes per day." So I guess smoking three cigarettes is okay? Whatever. Is that seriously their guidelines for when to take action? Oh and there was no mention of the toxins in the polymers that hold granite counter tops together.

And of course all of the granite people are telling me that the story was placed by quartz people - and then go on to provide me with a tutorial of what PR is (seriously!). It's always interesting to hear what other people think PR is, so I have actually only told one that my background is PR. The others I figured, well, whatever.

So granite is out. Soapstone and quartz are possibilities (if anyone could actually provide me with a picocuries reading from them, which they don't have even though they say it's safe). And then Ice Stone is supposed to be good, but I'm weary of the glue that holds all the recycled stuff together - it clearly isn't water soluble. And did you know they are actually putting antimicrobial agents in counter tops now? That's a little scary too.

But the one on top? Glass. Recycled glass. Pure, simple, non-leaching and easy to clean. It doesn't get better than that, does it?


Abe said...

Concrete and recycled glass. Someday, when we re-do our kitchen, I'm going this route.

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