Occupational silica dust exposure is one of the earliest recognised causes of lung disease. Despite this, Australia is experiencing a major outbreak of silica-related disease in workers fabricating and installing benchtops made from artificial stone.
- A major outbreak of silicosis is occurring in Australia due to the fabrication and installation of artificial stone benchtops.
- Crystalline silica is recognised as a hazardous substance under Australian law.
- Exposure to silica is also associated with tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic renal disease.
- Urgent identification of those exposed to hazardous levels of silica due to working with artificial stone and appropriate health assessments and management are needed.