The Emergence of Silicosis among Stone Countertop Fabricators: A Call to Action - Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center

The Emergence of Silicosis among Stone Countertop Fabricators: A Call to Action


MCOHS Seminar Series

10:00AM - 11:00AM

Engineered stone, or quartz, countertops are marketed to consumers as durable, scratch-resistant surfaces that are less likely to stain and require no seal or reseal. Unlike natural stone, engineered stone provides consistency and uniformity, and the non-porous design makes it less prone to bacterial growth. However, there is growing documentation of outbreaks of silicosis cases and other work-related
conditions among employees involved with the manufacturing and fabricating of engineered stone countertops in Spain, the US, Israel, China, and Australia, with Australia proposing a ban on these countertops.

This session will first examine the respirable crystalline silica exposures in stone fabricating shops and the hazards associated with the work, then describe the challenges of communicating the risks of this work, followed by a presentation on the current outbreak of silicosis patients in California and how this may represent a much broader potential of undiagnosed cases, and finally end with what policy actions must be taken now to protect the lives of stone fabricators.

Jenny Houlroyd, CIH, MSPH earned her joint Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Epidemiology and Environmental and Occupational Health from Emory University and a BS in Public Health from Richard Stockton University. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia’s School of Public Health. In her current role, she serves as Occupational Health Group Manager for the
Safety, Health, and Environmental Services group at Georgia Tech, which provides the OSHA consultation service for the state of Georgia. She is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and serves as faculty for the Georgia Tech OTI EC, Georgia Tech’s School of Biology, and the Professional Master’s in Occupational Safety and Health program.