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Artificial stone linked to fatal silicosis

Many are well-aware of the dangers of operating heavy equipment, working in the heat and breathing toxic chemicals at work. We can now add dust from manufacturing and working with artificial stone to the list of causes of serious lung injury and death. Known as engineered stone, this popular material is commonly used for counter tops in kitchens and bathrooms.

Doctors now find that workers who handle this mineral silica-based material inhale silica dust into their lungs, causing an incurable lung disease called silicosis. The dust is often generated by cutting, polishing or grinding this popular material, which is cut to order in shops around the world. According to workers, dust is omnipresent in these shops, getting into hair, nose, ears as well as clothes. Workers will often leave footprints on the floor because of the dust.

Symptoms are painful, debilitating and fatal

Workers who contract silicosis often complain of:

  • General weakness that makes physical activity difficult
  • Pain in the chest
  • Dizziness

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 18 known cases and two fatalities between 2017 and 2019 in California, Texas, Colorado and Washington. Several victims had severe progressive disease, and some had latent tuberculosis infection and associated autoimmune diseases. Because there is no cure, lung transplants are the only option for workers who contract this disease.

Airborne particles of all kinds are dangerous

Those working in a setting where there is a lot of dust can take precautions. However, these may not be enough. Any worker who has the above symptoms or other lung-related discomforts should see a doctor immediately. It may also be necessary to speak with an attorney to secure compensation for uninsured medical expenses, lost income as well as pain and suffering from these serious injuries.

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