You’d better think twice before laying those spankin’ new ceramic tiles on your kitchen floor. According to Shanghai Daily, the Shanghai Environmental Protection Industry Association, which has been offering free indoor radon radiation tests since April, announced yesterday that more than 80 percent of those buildings showed excessive radiation, especially from granite, ceramic tiles and “sanitary fittings” such as toilets, bathtubs and basins.
Over the past two months, 117 family homes and office buildings were inspected. Among them, more than 90 were found to have excessive radon radiation.
Radon, often found in granite, is a cancer-causing radioactive gas that cannot be seen or smelled. To give you an idea of how scary this odorless substance is, it is apparently the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
In addition, these inspections also look for formaldehyde, benzene and other volatile organic compounds.
The inspections found that about 20 percent of granite, 40 percent of wall and floor tiles and 70 percent of sanitary fittings held radiation levels higher than Shanghai’s standard. Li Wei from the association said the problem may lie in wanting to make things extra pretty:
“Ceramic tiles and sanitary fittings may have too much glaze, which contains radium and thorium,” he said. “The whiter and smoother sanitary fittings, the thicker the glaze the producers used. This could be more dangerous to people’s health”
Unfortunately, this epiphany is neither new nor groundbreaking here in China.
Last year, the same association collaborated with the Shanghai Children’s Hospital in a research that found a remote link between cancer and formaldehyde exposure, discovering that out of 30 children with leukemia, 15 came from homes with furniture or decor with excessive formaldehyde discharge.
Formaldehyde is often found in interior paint, furniture, wood flooring, particle board, carpet and wall paper — and the releasing of toxic amounts into the air is exacerbated during warm weather.
In order to avoid dealing with exposing yourself and your family members to these harmful radioactive substances, experts recommend installing proper ventilation and choosing high-quality decorative materials.
Or: if you want to check first whether your home is already swimming in radon before making any moves, you can still apply for a free inspection before August 31 on the association’s website.