Stone benchtops don’t have to come with a fear of Silicosis
If you are choosing to move towards the use of natural stone within your home for reasons relating to the recently well publicised silicosis news, we can certainly help you with this.
It has been a tough time for everyone in the stone industry hearing the distressful stories about far too many stonemasons developing Silicosis: an incurable lung disease that can often be fatal caused by breathing in tiny particles of silica. These stonemasons have contracted chronic silicosis due to long term exposure to silica dust, created when dry-cutting engineered (artificial) stone.
Wet cutting of this reconstituted stone is known to significantly lower exposure to silica dust, thus limiting the chances of Silicosis for those working with the material. Unfortunately in Australia there has no strict regulation of the industry to enforce this practice.
What is Silicosis?
Silicosis is a respiratory disease that causes scarring of the lungs. It is caused by breathing dust containing fragments of crystalline silica. The scarring leads to progressive respiratory impairment which is irreversible, and often fatal.
Silica is found in materials such as concrete, masonry, sandstone and rock, and is released by cutting, drilling or blasting.
There are three types silicosis: chronic (from at least 10 years of exposure); accelerated (from higher exposure levels and 5-10 years of exposure); acute, which is fatal, (from week or months of very high exposure).
Choosing Natural Stone
Engineered stone can contain up to 90 per cent silica content compared to about 5 per cent in natural marble, though exposure to this is only when the stone is cut and dust in released. However it is not surprising that there is a current lean towards natural stone being used around the home in areas such as kitchen benchtops. But it’s not just recent concern about Silicosis that makes natural stone popular, it is a superb option for many reasons…
Natural stone makes a beautiful statement within any home. Each piece of natural stone is unique, regardless of if it is quarried from the same site, therefore you can guarantee that the piece you pick will exude a style and quality that is completely personal to you.
There are no chemicals or plastics in a slab of natural stone. It is also a durable and long term investment, reducing you waste footprint.
Durable & Sanitary
Natural stone is a great choice for those who want a durable and sanitary surface upon which to prepare meals. It is highly resistant to bacteria and can be sealed for even greater protection and cleanliness.
As long as you follow some simple care instructions for your particular type of natural stone, you will not need to worry about refinishing, sanding or repairing your piece. Check out our blog posts on how to clean natural stone kitchen benchtops Part 1 and Part 2 for top tips on how to best look after your stone.
Concerned About the Stone in Your Home?
If you have an artificial stone surface installed in your home please do not worry. The reconstituted stone surfaces that we work with comply with the strictest local and international safety standards and are completely safe for domestic use. These products are perfectly safe in their manufactured state and when transported, shipped and installed.
Feel Safe with Distinctive Stone
We take safety very seriously. Always improving our health and safety systems in response to new information that comes to light, we have built upon our current practices to ensure even greater protection for our stonemason team against exposure to silica dust. This has included increased ways in which water is used during the production of reconstituted stone products to minimise the dust that is created. Through open conversations amongst our team we have been able to grow a H&S culture of best practice that is going from strength to strength, which means you can feel safe every time you work with us.