The study carried out at İzmir Institute of Technology (İYTE) to determine the health effects of granite, the use of which is rapidly increasing in indoor spaces, revealed striking results. Accordingly, the use of granite in closed, poorly ventilated areas increases the risk of lung cancer.
IZTECH Chemical Engineering Department Lecturer Prof. Dr. According to the scientific literature research titled "Radon Release and Health Risks Caused by Granites" prepared by Mehmet Polat, granite, which is an igneous rock, contains higher amounts of uranium and thorium than other natural stones.
Radon gas, which has a radioactive effect as a result of the natural decomposition of uranium and thorium in granite, can reach levels that increase the risk of lung cancer by accumulating in poorly ventilated areas such as underground mines and basements of buildings.
It is reported that 10-15 percent of lung cancer deaths in the USA and 6 percent in England are caused by radon, and it is noted that radon is the biggest cause of lung cancer after smoking.
As a result of the studies carried out on various types of natural stones, it was reported that granite released 2 times more radon than marble and ceramics, and the following determinations were made:
“It is a scientifically proven fact in many different sources in the literature that exposure to radon gas above certain thresholds and for long periods of time increases the risk of lung cancer. Among the natural stones, it has been clearly revealed in the literature that massive granites of magmatic origin contain higher amounts of uranium and thorium than marble and other similar natural stones. Despite their relatively less porous structure, granites also cause higher radon emissions due to their high uranium and thorium contents.
It is thought that the radon emission caused by granites does not pose a significant risk in case of use limited to a few square meters, as in kitchen counters in homes. Even if there is a risk in this regard, it has not been proven. However, if granites are used in much larger public spaces such as shopping malls, airports and hospitals, the amount of radon that will be released into the environment can reach significant levels, since the usage amounts can reach thousands of square meters. In particular, the superior insulation qualities of smart new buildings make a possible radon problem more risky because the ambient air does not change enough.”
ATTENTION TO VENTILATION
In the statement, it was stated that different alternatives should be evaluated instead of granite in public and large spaces, and it was noted that great importance should be given to radon emission values in granites, and that they should be evaluated together with the limit values set by the European Union and the World Health Organization, taking into account the dimensions of the space and the ventilation conditions.
In the report, it was mentioned that buildings using granite should be carefully monitored in terms of uranium, thorium and radon activities.
USE LOCAL STONE IN CITY HOSPITALS
Arslan Erdinç, Chairman of the Board of the Aegean Mine Exporters Association, said that granite is generally used as a building material due to its aesthetic appearance, and that the rapid increase in the demand for granite, which is all imported, increases health risks and creates a foreign trade deficit.
Explaining that the use of granite in interior spaces is rapidly decreasing due to the risk posed by granite in the world, and that its use is completely banned in countries such as Switzerland, Erdinç said that the use of marble, which is the most important alternative to granite, has increased in the world.
Erdinç stated that although Turkey has the world's largest marble reserves, granites imported from the Far East are mostly preferred instead of marble, and said, “Despite our warnings that granite is harmful to health for years, imports continue unabated. Public institutions and organizations take the lead in this business. Granite is used even in the interior floors of hospitals tendered by TOKİ. Granite is also preferred in airports, courthouses, public buildings and shopping mall constructions. Taner Yıldız, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, is very sensitive about this issue. He asked us to do research. We presented the report prepared at IZTECH to him. He will take it to the Council of Ministers. At least, we hope that the use of granite in constructions subject to public tenders will be limited by taking into account the radon emissions.”
BUYED FOR 7 DOLLARS AND SOLD TO PUBLIC BUILDINGS FOR 30 DOLLARS
Erdinç also stated that local calcium carbonate-based stones should be used instead of granite in the city hospitals to be built, and that they will take initiatives in this regard, and that a granite purchased for 7 dollars per square meter in China and India was sold to public constructions in Turkey for 30 dollars. He also claimed that its use could not be abandoned.
Pointing out that the most important examples of the misuse of granite in Turkey can be seen in the Istanbul and Izmir Courts of Justice, Erdinç claimed that the radon emitted by thousands of square meters of granite collapsed in the basements of these buildings, and that those who spent a long time in these floors would face health risks if there was not enough ventilation.
Erdinç said that despite all warnings, granites imported from India were used in the state hospital built in Afyonkarahisar, which is considered the center of marble production in the world, and said, “Granite is used even in the hospitals we go to for healing. This danger must now be stopped,” he said.