Silicosis is an incurable lung disease that is becoming more common in people who manufacture or install quartz countertops made from engineered stone.
Need a Texas Silicosis Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with silicosis, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
What is the problem?
Over 2 million workers in the U.S. are at risk of silicosis, a severe lung disease that is caused by breathing tiny particles of crystalline silica dust in the air. Every year, hundreds of people die from silicosis.
Silicosis Risk for Countertop Manufacturing, Finishing, and Installation
Unfortunately, there has been a sudden spike in the number of people diagnosed with silicosis — especially among engineered stone fabrication workers and people who do in-home installations of countertops.
Workers Dying of Lung Disease After Making Stone Countertops
Why Is Silica a Concern for Countertop Workers?
Countertop workers are significantly more likely to develop silicosis because engineered stone contains over 90% silica, which is much higher than natural stones like marble (under 10% silica), granite (10- 45% silica), sandstone (60% silica) or other materials, like concrete.
OSHA Hazard Alert for Engineered Stone Countertop Industry
In 2015, OSHA issued a Hazard Alert for the stone countertop industry due to an increasing number of silicosis injuries.
Who Is At Risk?
The biggest risk is for workers who cut, grind, or polish engineered stone slabs without protective equipment. However, silicosis can also occur in anyone who breathes silica dust, such as people who sweep dust, inspectors, production operators, or quality-control technicians.
Common Sources of Exposure to Silica Dust
Workers may be exposed to silica dust in shops, as well as job sites where finishing work is completed. Sources of exposure can include:
- Operating powered hand tools (saws, grinders, polishers, etc.)
- Dry cutting, grinding, edging, drilling, polishing, and contouring stone
- Opening bags of ground quartz
- Moving or mixing bulk raw materials
- Cleaning and scraping mixers
- Sweeping and cleaning up dust
- And more
Employers May Fail to Provide Safety Warnings or Equipment
Thousands of stone fabrication businesses have sprung up in the U.S. to meet the sudden demand for quartz countertops. Unfortunately, not all of these employers inform workers about the risk of silicosis, take steps to reduce silica dust, provide masks, or protective equipment.
What is Silicosis?
Silicosis is a severe lung disease and a well-known occupational hazard. Decades ago, silicosis was nicknamed “potter’s rot” because it primarily occurred in pottery workers who breathed silica dust in the air after mixing bags of clay.
What Causes Silicosis?
Silicosis is a progressive, incurable, and potentially deadly lung disease that is caused by breathing tiny particles of crystalline silica dust in the air. These particles get stuck in the lungs and trigger inflammation and fibrosis (scarring).
Silicosis Symptoms & Warning Signs
Silicosis symptoms can occur suddenly, within a few weeks of high exposure to silica. For low exposure to silica, the symptoms of silicosis may not appear for 15-20 years.
The symptoms of silicosis worsen as the disease progresses, and may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Fatigue and weakness
- Chest pain
Long-Term Complications of Silicosis
People with silicosis are more likely to develop other severe complications, particularly lung infections like tuberculosis or lung cancer. Some of the most severe complications include:
- Lung infections
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Lung cancer
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Kidney disease
- Lung transplant
What Are Quartz Countertops?
In recent years, quartz countertops have boomed in popularity for kitchens and bathrooms. Quartz countertops are made of man-made “engineered stone,” or “artificial stone,” which is fabricated by mixing ground-up particles of quartz (a natural hard rock) with plastic, resins, pigment, or other stones. The result is a granite-like slab surface.
Popular Brands of Quartz Countertops
Need a Silicosis Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our law firm for a free case review.