Silicosis is an irreversible and progressive disease that causes fibrosis of the lungs from the inhalation of RCS.
As of February 2019, 99 confirmed cases of silicosis associated with engineered stone benchtop work have been identified in Queensland, Australia.
Many of these cases have been consistent with accelerated silicosis, a form of the disease which develops over a short period (5 to 10 years) from inhalation of very high concentrations of RCS.
In New Zealand, there is a lack of data on the prevalence of silicosis and exposure levels of RCS. Also, recent trends cannot be observed due to the time lag of developing disease. Therefore, this Safety Alert aims to raise awareness of this potential issue before there are confirmed cases here.