Exposure to the silica dust created cutting and polishing Engineered quartz countertops is giving some workers severe silicosis a fatal lung disease
The Center for Disease Control has issued the following warning: “Silicosis is an incurable occupational lung disease caused by inhaling particles of respirable crystalline silica. … Because quartz, a type of crystalline silica, is commonly found in stone, workers who cut, polish, or grindstone materials can be exposed to silica dust.”
While inhaling dust from the cutting and polishing of all countertops is unhealthy, the fabrication of engineered quartz countertops has been found to be especially dangerous. NPR reported in October that the “artificial stone used to make kitchen and bathroom countertops has been linked to cases of death and irreversible lung injury in workers who cut, grind and polish this increasingly popular material.” Some scientists are comparing the dangers of cutting quartz countertops with coal mining.
In 2016, OSHA issued new workplace limits on how much silica could be in the air at countertop fabrication sites. Unfortunately, a year later, the incoming Trump administration canceled the safety agency’s national emphasis program for silica.
Main Line Kitchen Design presently sells Quartz countertops. The time has come for responsible retailers to investigate the conditions at the fabrication sites where the engineered quartz that we sell is cut and polished.
Main Line Kitchen Design will talk to industry experts at the National Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, KBIS, held this January in Las Vegas. After we return from the show, we will speak to our fabricators and try to ascertain if their workers are being exposed to these dangers from the countertops we sell.
Main Line Kitchen Design will not sell a dangerous kitchen design to our customers. For example, we do not sell kitchens with ranges and cooktops next to doorways. See our two blogs on this topic: Kitchen designers who don’t protect their customers and is your kitchen designer going to kill you?
If we determine that we cannot sell Quartz countertops without endangering the lives of the people who fabricate them, we will cease selling Engineered Quartz countertops.
Wishing all our customers and the people we work with a safe and happy Holiday Season.
. . . And of course. . .
Paul, Julie, Ed, Chris, John, Lauren, Tom and Stacia
Main Line Kitchen Design