Saturday, April 13, 2024

Opinion: Incurable and unconscionable: How immigrants are contracting deadly lung disease making kitchen countertops

Nolan Rappaport for The Hill writes that Latino immigrant workers in California are dying from silicosis, an incurable disease caused by worker exposures to airborne particles of crystalline silica. Silicosis is a problem in California for immigrant workers who make quartz kitchen countertops. Quartz contains high levels of silica. According to the commentary, "[c]utting, breaking, crushing, drilling, grinding or abrasive blasting of quartz to shape it into countertops produces fine silica dust that the workers breathe it into their lungs."  In 2023, "the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board announced that around 4,040 workers are exposed to silica dust in California’s stone fabrication shops. It estimates that between 500 and 850 of them will get silicosis and between 90 and 160 will die from it. "

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