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The Sciences

Caution: Your Cheese Grater May Be Radioactive, Study Finds

DiscoblogBy Allison BondJune 11, 2009 2:12 AM
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Think your cheese grater consists solely of pure, unadulterated metal? Don’t be so sure. An investigation by Scripps Howard News Service revealed that thousands of common items, from shovels to elevator buttons, contain radioactive metals, thanks to a system that does not require potentially radioactive recycled metals to be tested or reported. A few items that might set off your Geiger counter: • Women’s handbags • Tableware • Fencing wire and fence posts • Shovel blades • Airline parts • Reclining chairs • Steel used in construction But don’t encase yourself in lead just yet: Experts remain divided over whether continuous exposure to low levels of radioactivity poses a significant health risk. And don’t forget that plenty of other seemingly innocent objects are naturally slightly radioactive. That includes bananas, which contain a low level of a radioactive potassium isotope, and ceramic pots, because the clay they’re made out of is radioactive. So if you’re planning on investing in a hazmat suit, you probably should’ve been wearing it all along. Related Content: Discoblog: What You Need to Know About Drug Water Discoblog: Want to Get Away With Murder? Use a Special Detergent Discoblog: Is Pollution in China Causing Cats to Grow “Wings?”

Image: flickr / dvortygirl

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