California Acts As Young Men Making Quartz Countertops Face Lung Damage

"California is poised to become the first state in the country to adopt special measures to protect workers who make kitchen and bathroom countertops out of a popular kind of artificial stone known as "quartz."

That's because more and more countertop workers, almost all Latino men, are coming down with an irreversible lung disease after breathing in dangerous dust while cutting and grinding quartz and other stone materials.

At least ten have died. Others have needed lung transplants.

The disease, silicosis, is caused by silica dust that can fly into the air when a raw slab of countertop material gets cut to fulfill a customer's order. While natural stone like granite contains silica, "engineered stone" made of quartz contains far more, and public health experts have been warning of its increased risk."

Nell Greenfieldboyce reports for NPR July 24, 2023.

Source: NPR, 07/25/2023