Engineered stone manufacturer announces new product with less silica, says it is an “immediate solution” to silicosis crisis

Engineered stone manufacturer announces new product with less silica, says it is an “immediate solution” to silicosis crisis

Cosentino, one of the world’s largest stone benchtop companies, has joined the growing call for a ban on products responsible for rising rates of silicosis across the country.

Additionally, several health organisations, including the Public Health Association of Australia and the Lung Foundation Australia, have also called for action from state and federal governments to “right a terrible wrong”.

Following an in-depth investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and 60 Minutes this week, Cosentino, which manufactures approximately twenty per cent of domestic kitchen benchtops in the country, has called for a coordinated approach to reduce silica exposure risk.

“We have an immediate solution without disrupting the construction and building market”, a Cosentino spokesperson said. “And prices won’t increase.”

The Cosentino spokesperson explained that restrictions on silica content and the risk of exposure should be implemented immediately.

“The immediate solution is everyone buys products that are less than 40 per cent silica,” he said.

Cosentino says it has developed a product that contains significantly less silica, which it says can be rolled out at scale if the appropriate limitations were placed on products that have higher silica content entering the market.

It says its newly developed product has between 10 and 40 per cent silica – in comparison, marble contains only 2 per cent, while sandstone contains up to 90 per cent.

Caesarstone, which is one the leading Australian suppliers of engineered stone benchtops has released a statement in response to the investigative reporting, explaining that it is “one of several manufacturers and suppliers of engineered stone including Cosentino, Quantum Quartz, Smartstone, Project Stone, Stone Italiana and Laminex.”

“As a significant stakeholder in the engineered stone market, Caesarstone’s efforts to improve industry safety are ongoing and have increased over the years. This includes putting clear warnings on our products and providing the comprehensive ‘Master of Stone’ online learning platform, which makes information and safe working guidelines accessible to fabricators and others who handle our products.

“We are deeply engaged with this important issue and are committed to continuing to collaborate with all stakeholders to build a safer industry.”

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