I went to a continuing education class a couple of weeks ago on anxiety, stress, and depression. As one might imagine, it had its downer moments, including tidbits of information that led me to believe that I'm surrounded by nothing but carcinogens. It was rather anxiety inducing, and yes, stressful. They should've handed out little Xanax samples along with the certificates.
The discussions ranged from the foods we eat to the jewelry we wear to the items that surround us, all of which could be contributing to our health, sometimes quite adversely. One of the things brought up was how granite countertops might give off radiation. That's right, you could be standing there, chopping onions or trimming the fat off chicken, and soaking up some radiation. Now, the amounts given off are probably small, but it does raise questions. Like, how much will it cost to remodel the kitchen...?
I first heard about the granite countertop/radiation issue a few years ago while doing research for my novel Shards of History. In the novel, the Maddion, a group of people who live in the mountains--their homes are actually carved into the mountains--suffer from a disease that's killing them all off. Although the disease was given to them through magical means, I was searching for a real-life disease as inspiration, and I came across radiation poisoning and the radiation given off by granite. So then I wondered, what if somebody was powerful enough to magically cause high levels of radiation to emit from the very place where these people live? And I had the basis for the disease. It doesn't exactly follow radiation poisoning as we know it, but I felt that basing it on an actual medical problem would make it seem more realistic. So in their case, their home is most definitely trying to kill them.
Just a day or two before this class, this news story came out about some people who stole a truck in Mexico filled with radioactive material. I figured the thieves wanted the truck, and later decided to pry open the containers to see what was inside. The thieves were caught, and they are lucky that they didn't end up with radiation sickness.