Long before the more recent U.S. medical publications, health authority alerts, and news stories, the knowledge that engineered stone causes an epidemic of silicosis among workers is not new information to the manufacturers of these products.
Silicosis caused by exposure to silica dust in general has been a known disease since ancient times when slaves in Egypt who cut the stones for building the pyramids around 2500 B.C. died of silicosis. Similarly, workers who built temples in Greece around 550 B.C. died of silicosis. Miners in the 1500s were well documented as dying from silicosis. In the 1700s, silicosis was included in medical treatises. Case studies were written on Vermont granite workers in 1917. In the 1930s in West Virgina, 2000 out of 2,900 tunnel workers died of silicosis in the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel Disaster. In the 1930s, the Department of Labor launched anti-silicosis campaigns. Silicosis has killed more workers than any other occupational disease.
Engineered stone was invented in the 1970s in Italy. In 1987, Caesarstone began manufacturing engineered stone in Israel. In 1990, Cosentino began manufacturing engineered stone in Spain. Cambria begin manufacturing engineered stone in the U.S. in 2000. Many other manufacturers followed.
In addition to the long general chronic silicosis knowledge, manufacturers and suppliers of engineered stone have known for decades that their unfinished commercial product when used as intended by fabricators in accordance with their instructions for use causes deadly accelerated and acute silicosis!
The first engineered stone epidemic was reported in Israel regarding workers using Caesarstone, with the first case published in 1997 by researchers at the National Lung Transplant Center. In 2012, in Chest, Dr. Mordechai Kramer and others in Artificial Stone Silicosis: Disease Resurgence Among Artificial Stone Workers reported on 25 workers studied from 1997 to 2010 with silicosis from engineered stone.
The second engineered stone epidemic started in Spain in 2010 with the publication of 3 young engineered stone workers with sever silicosis from using Cosentino stone by Dr. Cristina Martinez, et. al – International Journal of Spanish Respiratory Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery – Silicosis, Una Enfermedad con Presente Activo. This was quickly followed by Dr. Silvia Pascual, et. al. in 2011 in Arch Bronconeumol – Prevalence of Silicosis in a Marble Factory After Exposure to Quartz Conglomerates publishing a study on 11 Cosentino stone workers with severe silicosis in Spain.
A third engineered stone epidemic was reported in Italy in 2012 by Dr. Dusca Bartoli, et. al in the Italian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene – Silicosis in Employees in the Processing of Kitchen, Bar, and Shop Countertops Made From Quartz Resin Composite publishing that 7 out of only 29 engineered stone fabrication workers from a single shop were suffering from severe silicosis.
The precursor to the current epidemic in the U.S. was reported in 2015 by Dr. Gary Freidman and Dr. Robert Harrison, et. al – CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – Silicosis in a Countertop Fabricator – Texas, 2014 publishing on a 37-year-old engineered stone worker in Texas who developed acute silicosis with progressive massive fibrosis after just 10 years of working with engineered stone.
In 2019, 18 more cases of acute and accelerated silicosis in engineered stone workers in California, Colorado, Texas, and Washington were published in the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report– Severe Silicosis in Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers – California, Colorado, Texas, and Washington, 2017-2019.
Between 2021 to 2022, almost 1000 severe silicosis cases were reported in Australia among engineered stone workers. Australian heath authorities predict that over 100,000 Australian engineered stone workers will die from silicosis and another 10,000 from lung cancer.
Despite this centuries-long history of the known cause of chronic silicosis, and the two and a half decades history of engineered stone as a cause of acute and accelerated silicosis, the manufacturers and suppliers kept making and selling this deadly product; and still do so today. Many thousands of cases have been reported in Italy, Spain, Israel, China, Australia, and the United States. This is not just an epidemic; it is a pandemic!
Free Case Evaluation – No Cost Interview with an Attorney
Have you worked as a fabricator, cutter, polisher, or installer of engineered stone countertops? If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation if you have been diagnosed with silicosis or lung cancer. Even if you are an undocumented immigrant, you may still be eligible for compensation. You need a law firm that will review your case and help you determine if you have a claim. They will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call Brayton Purcell LLP at (855)335-8606 or contact them online today for a free consultation.
For an overview of engineered stone, why it is dangerous, and how it causes silicosis and other diseases, click here
To learn about Safety and Medical resources, and how to reduce or eliminate exposure to silica, click here
To learn about how silicosis from engineered stone is diagnosed and to find treating doctors who specialize in engineered stone silicosis, click here
For an updated listing of current news, important regulatory hearings and medical presentations, and medical journal articles about the epidemic of engineered stone silicosis, click here
To learn about the types of monetary damages available to silicosis victims, statute of limitations (deadlines to file a lawsuit), or the major defendant manufacturers of engineered stone, click here
Video Credit: SHES at Georgia Tech