QUARTZ WORKTOPS AND THE DANGER OF SILICOSIS

The Daily Mail, one of the most renowned print publications, published an article that sparked headlines about the disadvantages of quartz worktops for stonemasons who cut and polish these.

What caused this to become a news story?

The unregulated utilization silica in the stone industry has claimed many lives, particularly in Scotland, where the high silica sandstone used in the construction of Edinburgh's New Town became controversial. Silicosis was said to have killed 23 of the 70 men who worked on the Scott Monument.

What was the primary reason for publishing such an article?

Natural and manufactured stone items, including completed countertops, are not hazardous to one's health. Cutting, drilling, and polishing natural and manufactured stone goods, on the other hand, can release dangerous quantities of quartz silica dust into the air that workers inhale. In the countertop manufacturing sector, working with crushed quartz can expose employees to hazardous silica dust.

What percentage of silica is included in countertop materials?

Countertops may contain more than 90% silica, depending on the type of stone utilized. The maximum quantities of silica are found in manufactured countertops, which are made up of pigments and adhesives.

Why is silica a risk for employees in the stone countertop manufacturing, polishing, and installation industries?

In the countertop manufacturing, finishing, and installation sectors, workers who use powered hand tools like as saws, grinders, and high-speed polishers are exposed to some of the highest levels of silica dust. These exposures are generated by dry cutting and polishing stone, which might happen in a workshop or on a work site where cutting and polishing work is done.

When opening bags of crushed quartz, transferring or mixing large raw materials, cleaning and scraping mixers, or cleaning dust collection bag houses, personnel in the produced stone business may be exposed to silica dust.

Workers doing other duties in close proximity to silica dust-generating facilities may be exposed. Workers can breathe silica-containing dust from these processes without effective safe systems of work, such as water sprays or local exhaust ventilation (LEV), and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Do stonemasons get the respiratory disease from quartz worktops?

Silicosis is an irreversible, chronic, and sometimes deadly lung ailment that affects workers who inhale very fine quartz silica particles. Silicosis causes long-term respiratory problems. Silica dust particles become stuck in lung tissue, producing inflammation and scarring, as well as a reduction in the lungs' capacity to absorb oxygen.

Is it possible that quartz countertops may endanger mine or my family's health?

Quartz is extremely stable, with little chance of harmful dust accumulation over the period of time. As a result, they pose no threat to you or your loved ones.

If there is dust during installation and we need to conduct any cutting on site, what services does AG Affordable Granite provide?

When the stone is portable and less delicate, AG Affordable Granite's professional staff cut upstands in the garden or driveway; otherwise, when the stone is large or fragile, our experts finish cutouts in the kitchen.

Is there any danger to one's health if dust is formed during the specialists' work?

Our professionals employ a vacuum to eliminate dust from any cutting or polishing site quickly, and AG Affordable Granite's personnel do their best to clean as they go through the process. However, there is a chance that there will be some dust.

How much can be undertaken at stone countertop construction sites to safeguard employees from silica exposure?

The actions that must be followed are as follows:

  1. If at all feasible, cut with a water spray to avoid dry cutting and polishing of Quartz as the risk of dust is greatly reduced by keeping the material wet.
  2. Provide workers with training and education regarding the risks of silica and other chemicals, as well as a well-planned and implemented documented safety communication protocol.
  3. Respirators must be provided by business owners. If breathing masks are necessary, the employer must have an appropriate protective scheme in place.
  4. Specializing in automated procedures will bring stonemasons and their lungs away from the cutting point. These expenditures are excellent for performance and accuracy, but they are also important for their employees' safeguarding.