Ban engineered stone over silicosis disease rise

THE use, supply and manufacture of engineered stone will be banned in NSW from July 1 after Safe Work Australia found there was no safe level of silica in the product.
Rates of silicosis and silica-related diseases in Australian workers have risen substantially in recent years, with a disproportionate number of diagnoses among engineered stone workers.

Eurostyle Stone Bankstown owner Ismil said he saw the changes coming and made the switch to porcelain and natural stone a few years ago.
“This was after the fabrication laws changed in 2019 and we bought a filtering system worth over $180,000; we made that money back but, of course, there is no use for it anymore,” he said.
“The coming ban will mean that all the engineered stone import operations will stop and any operator relying on quartz-based materials, which engineered stone includes, will be out of business.”
He said that in the future once the Government has control of the industry, they may introduce a permit system.
“The stone and the finished product is not the problem, only when it’s cut does it become dangerous,” he said.
Bunnings has also withdrawn its range of engineered stone products.
“The vast majority of bench tops we sell are laminate or timber, and we will continue to work with our suppliers on bringing alternatives to customers in the coming months,” Bunnings Director of Merchandise, Jen Tucker said.
Minister for Work Health and Safety, and State MP for Canterbury, Sophie Cotsis, congratulated the workers, unions, medical experts and businesses that joined the campaign to ban engineered stone.
“My message to business and consumers is this – it’s time for you to stop buying this stuff. Don’t enter into any further contracts,” she said.