Artificial-Stone Countertops Are Giving People A Fatal Lung Disease

Male hand choosing cabinet or countertop materials

Photo: Zephyr18 / iStock / Getty Images

Redoing your kitchen might be deadly! Lots of people hopped on the DIY home renovation bandwagon during the pandemic but now, signs of contracting a fatal lung disease without using a mask is higher than before!

According to Public Heath Watch and Univision, the lung disease known as silicosis has been largely identified in the Los Angeles area.

When cutting or grinding into artificial-stone, tiny silica particles are released in the air, and when inhaled, can cause serious illness and even death. According to the LAist, "One hundred times smaller than a grain of sand, the particles can travel deep into the lungs, causing scarring that continues even after exposure stops. The result is slow suffocation from an incurable illness known as silicosis."

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted unanimously to move forward with an emergency temporary standard after 8 more cases were added to the count of silicosis cases moving the number from 69 to 77.

The University of California, San Francisco co-authored with Jama Internal Medicine a study giving new details on 52 of the first cases in California. According to that study:

  • The median age of those who are diagnosed with silicosis was 45.
  • 1 in 52 of the victims were Latino immigrants.
  • 58% of workers were misdiagnosed with bacterial pneumonia or tuberculosis which delayed proper medical care.
  • At the time of diagnosis, 20 people had an advanced form of the condition known as progressive massive fibrosis; ten died at the median age of 46.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the first steps toward implementing a countywide ban on artificial stone products back in June.

Artificial stone, often known as engineered stone, is created by combining crushed, silica-rich quartz with an adhesive to form a solid slab or block.

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