Oh, Glow On...There’s Radioactive Stuff in My Home? Seriously?

radon
We all know that exposure to radiation can be very, very bad for you. It's been fodder for sci-fi movies for decades, turning tiny tots into mutated henchmen (The Gamma People, 1956) and transforming a cowering homemaker into a giantess with a score to settle (Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman, 1958). The real-world risks of chronic high-level exposure are known to be equally dramatic-and deadly. But you may be surprised to learn that some of the materials and products sitting around your house could be emitting low levels of radiation.

With that in mind, This Old House has taken a fresh look at the everyday household objects that might just be unhealthier than you think. Here are three possible radiation sources that could be under your roof right now. -Keith Mulvihill

See more surprising sources of radiation that could be in your home on thisoldhouse.com.

kitchen counter
1. Stone Countertops

Mining stone for countertops may unearth some potentially scary radioactivity as well. Granite countertops are known to emit radiation and radon, albeit at very low levels, as they can contain naturally occurring uranium and other radioactive elements, such as thorium. To see if granite countertops are affecting your home's radon levels, contact the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (aarst.org) or visit the Marble Institute of America's website.

MORE: 10 Ways Your House Can Kill You

green glasses
2. Green-Glowing Drinking Glasses

Uranium-tainted glassware. Since the early 19th century and up until the 1970s, glassmakers widely used uranium to color glasses a transparent yellow or yellow-green. The glassware was often referred to as canary glass or Vaseline glass, and had a tendency to emit low levels of radiation for many years after being manufactured. To see if your old glassware possibly contains uranium, hold it up to a black light in a dark room. If the glass glows a greenish color, you might want to start sipping from something else.

MORE:
9 Highly Toxic Old Household Products

tv
3. Truly Toxic Television

Older, box-shaped televisions that contain a cathode ray tube have the potential to emit low levels of x-ray radiation. If you have this type of TV, experts advise sitting a distance of at least 2 to 3 feet from the screen to limit exposure.

See other dangerous sources of radiation in your home on thisoldhouse.com.

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