Beware The Radioactive Cheese Graters

Ever feel like everything gives people cancer these days? Well, you might not be too far from the truth. A Scripps News investigation found that “radioactive waste is being mixed with other metals in scrap yards and recycling facilities, often overseas, and then shipped into the U.S. in a range of consumer products.” The products include household cheese graters, recliners, handbags and forks and knives, along with fences, shovels, elevator buttons, airline components and building steel. [Yahoo! Green] (Thanks to Liz!) (Photo: Richard Faulder)


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  1. bloggerX says:

    Oho, so that’s the reason why my homemade pizza and my cooking utensils were glowing in the dark!

  2. sanjsrik says:

    dammit dammit dammit, that was my line.

    I keep wondering why it is I can find my recliner in the dark now, oh, wait, it’s because of the Strontium 90.

    ahh, the joys of the nuc-u-lear age.

  3. Gokuhouse says:

    So, what we’re supposed to gather from this article is we should just give up already and accept that we’re being poisoned constantly by everything we use?

  4. dorkhero says:

    Sorry. I hit ‘cancer overload’ about a year ago. I am sick of being told by the media that anything I can touch, smell, eat, see, or hear WILL give me cancer. We are all born knowing that we will die. It’s how we live our lives that matters. I for one will not spend my life living in fear.

  5. AluminumFalcon_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Bah. I’m from NJ. any radioactivity is just a drop in the bucket of the constant chest x-ray exposure I expierence just going into my basement.

  6. seanhcalgary says:

    So the news here is that the Chinese cheap out wherever they can at the expense of our health?

    I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @seanhcalgary: hm, maybe the Hummers will be made out of radioactive metals…
      and Hummer Drivers will evolve. whether it’s deadly things like brain tumors, or scary things like a machine gun in their shoulder, remains to be seen.

    • Veeber says:

      @seanhcalgary: Um basically everyone will take the cheapest out even at the expense of our health.

      • seanhcalgary says:

        @Veeber: Yes, but the Chinese are particularly good at it.

        That said, it doesn’t make the businesses over here any less guilty. They want to keep costs as low as possible, so as far as I’m concerned they’re as much to blame as the Chinese.

    • youbastid says:

      @seanhcalgary: For Americans, it’s not the Chinese cheaping out that’s the problem. It’s the American companies cheaping out and buying crap from China.

      • SC123 says:

        Um, is radioactive metal really cheaper? Are there places selling radioactive metal for a discount? And if you read the article, you’ll see that it mentions this happening in Texas and Florida.

    • eb0nyknight says:


      Call me paranoid, but the best way to take over/destroy a country is not necessarily to outright attack it.

      We buy their stuff. We know this and they know it. How many more tainted products to we have to get from them to see that it isn’t just a quality control issue.

      Their government just sits by and makes token examples of some of the people responsible for it.

      The Roman empire, didn’t fall because it was conquered. It fell because it got lazy.

  7. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    “Blessed are the cheese graters, for they shall cause the fission of men”.

  8. cherveny says:

    Sounds like the beginning of a bad comic book.

    Paul Pickle accidentally eats some pizza, made with cheese grated with a radioactive cheese grater.

    From that moment on, he becomes Mozzarella Man, blessed with all the powers of an Italian cheese!

    • sanjsrik says:


      and what, praytell would be mozzarella man’s powers be? The ability to be extra salty and would he also have a cousin, buffuleta man?

      • CubeRat says:


        Or scald the roof of your mouth because you do not pay attention to the fact that your cheese stick just came out of a vat of hot grease.

        Then you eat another one with the same consequence because you did not learn the first time… not that it has ever happened to me.

      • emis says:

        @sanjsrik: and what, praytell would be mozzarella man’s powers be?

        I’m thinking a cross between Mario and Stretch Armstrong

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      That’s awesome!

    • hedonia says:

      @cherveny: Man, I hate it when I accidentally eat pizza! Here I was, just opening and closing my mouth, minding my own business, and next thing you know…

  9. John Henschen says:

    The Chinese cheaping out… and this is something new? I knew years ago when I was selling metal working equipment that the steel coming from there was terrible. They will mix anything together and pretend it is any grade steel you want it to be.

  10. winshape says:

    Must be a slow news day or something. There’s no frame of reference in the article at all. How much radiation can you get from a cheese grater that you pull out once a week vs. my dual CRT computer screens I sit in front of for 8 hours a day. Or compared to how much radiation I’m exposed to walking from my front door to the mailbox and back?

    Seriously. It’s like people need to continually make up things to be scared and/or worried about.

    • hi says:


      The cheese grater they found contained “Cobalt 60”

      Unlike uranium, which is naturally occurring, Cobalt 60 has to be made using a nuclear reactor. It emits the strongest form of radiation – called gamma rays.

      “If the grater is in your kitchen drawer‚Ķand you’re standing near that drawer – the gamma rays can pass through it – which means you can absorb the radiation.”


    • Landru says:

      @winshape: Heh hey, you said “slow news day”.
      No, really; why are you here?

    • shepd says:


      3.5 microcuries

  11. QADude says:

    Yet another scare story from the same folks you keep telling us every year that coffee causes cancer. This reminds me of a statistics joke:

    “It’s been determined that research causes cancer in rats”

  12. halcyondays says:

    For those of you with granite countertops: they too are radioactive. Now go panic.

  13. geeky_reader says:

    One generic item that I have tried but will never ever buy again: chocolate syrup. Never comes close to Hershey’s.

    I also never skimp on chocolate chips. Tollhouse only for me. However, I am dumbfounded as to why my supermarket prices the 24 oz bags of Tollhouse chips at more than twice the cost of the 12 oz bags.

    I opt for store brand when it comes to all kinds of things. However, I have the easiest time sticking to store brands when I know that it’s food that is basically what you see is what you get. Like block cheese, butter, yogurt, etc.

  14. 1SQ says:

    Keep in mind that most things are radioactive, including Consumerist readers. The Earth, the sky, organic materials. Just pointing out that something is “radioactive” does nothing more than acknowledge its existence. And insisting on zero radioactivity will do far more harm than good.

    You really want to avoid exposure to radioactivity? Don’t smoke.

    • U-235 says:

      @1SQ: The issue here is that it’s contaminated metals. Of course that could be medical equipment which could be harmless or highly radioactive valves, piping, etc. from a reactor with large ammounts of decomposing Cobalt-60 (which releases gamma radiation), with a half-life or around 6 years. Of course even then you probably wouldn’t get that much dose given how diluted the contaminants would be.

  15. dialing_wand says:

    So is a Geiger counter a necessary household tool now?

  16. Nighthawke says:

    I for one, welcome our glow in the dark cookie sheets.

  17. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Aw, come on. It’ll only be radioactive for a few dozen thousand years.

  18. I Love New Jersey says:

    So we should be getting one of those Civil Defence surplus geiger counters off of ebay now?

  19. Nogard13 says:

    Remember to purchase your uranium ore. It will protect you: []

  20. HiPwr says:

    I actually prefer radiation in cooking utensils. Mark Twain called radiation “the spice of life.”

    Okay, I just made that shit up about Mark Twain, but I bet he’d say it if he thought of it.

  21. HomersBrain says:

    I can see that ShamWow guy now…”look at this grater!…it grates and MELTS the cheese in one step and now after using it, I don’t have to worry about getting chicks pregnant!”

  22. kaceetheconsumer says:

    Various environmental groups have been saying this for years. But because some of those same groups allege entirely crackpotty things, it’s hard to know when they’re right and when it’s time to back away from the bong.

    I first heard rumours of BPA in plastic bottles from these groups and discounted it as crackpottery. Now it’s a real issue with some governments thankfully banning it. With the radioactive scrap metal rumor being true now too, it makes me wonder about some of the others: lead in the crockpot glaze that leeches out over time but is within FDA allowable amounts, chemicals in disposable menstrual pads that slow down flow so women have longer periods and thus use more pads, neurotoxins in the flame retardent sprayed on mattresses, pillows, and infant sleepwear…are any of those true as well?

    How the hell is the average person supposed to be able to tell what’s an insane conpiracy theory and what’s actually a dangerous product? It’s all so frustrating and depressing. :(

  23. Nytmare says:

    @cherveny: Ahh, the powers of CheeseMan.

  24. jc364 says:

    Dang, now I need instructions on how to make my own Geiger counter.

  25. jc364 says:

    Hey, you can have cooking utensils that cook your food even before you put it in the oven! Now all we need is the sham-wow guy and a 30 minute infomercial.

  26. Mr_D says:

    This gives me an idea for a product – a kitchen geiger counter. Now, you too can know how many rads you get from your food! It’s like Fallout.

  27. vladthepaler says:

    It’d be helpful if you’d link to products we can use to test whether our household items contain (unsafe levels of) radiation, and offering suggestions as to how positive results should be handled.

  28. Trickman2 says:

    And we are surprised by this why? Did we actually think the government would protect us?

  29. chrisjames says:

    On the plus side, we no know it may be easier to smuggle nuclear material into the country.

    That’s a plus side, right?

  30. flipnut says:

    Lets start a PAC, and call it NAMBLA, we must protect our right to own radioactive cheese graters.

  31. flipnut says:

    If this stuff is so harmful and radioactive, why isn’t it showing up on all those expensive super duper radiation detectors Homeland Security has been installing at all the sea ports.

  32. EyeintheLAsky says:

    Look at the bright side (no pun intended)…at least our daughters can now FIND their IUDS.

  33. EyeintheLAsky says:

    At least it makes it easier to find the IUD.