Caution: Your Cheese Grater May Be Radioactive, Study Finds

By Allison Bond | June 10, 2009 5:12 pm

cheese graterThink 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.

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Discoblog: Is Pollution in China Causing Cats to Grow “Wings?”

Image: flickr / dvortygirl

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