Countertops are big business. Everyone wants beautiful yet durable countertops for their kitchen, bathrooms and other areas of their home. However, the health costs to those who install these countertops is still being discovered.
The Los Angeles Times recently published a lengthy piece on how those who work with engineered stone, which is popular in countertops, are developing silicosis. That’s a devastating lung condition that can also be caused by asbestos. It can also be caused by exposure to the high quantity of silica in engineered stone (compared to natural stone).
It would be easy to assume that no type of countertop these days would include asbestos since that’s been largely banned for decades. However, that may not be the case with countertops made from soapstone. Natural soapstone countertops are popular because they’re durable and nonporous. They’re resistant to mold, stains, chemicals, heat and even acid. However, natural soapstone is known to contain asbestos. The asbestos can be removed. However, if it’s not, those who carve, install or otherwise work with it are at risk of inhaling asbestos fibers.
Both engineered and natural stone have their own risks
Engineered stone has its own risks to those who don’t take proper precautions around it. However, natural stone – because it comes from the ground – often contains talc, which is known to contain asbestos.
Those who work with any kind of stone in any of the stages that it goes through before ending up in our homes, offices and other properties, need to be aware of the potential risks to their health. Employers have an obligation to require appropriate safety protocols and protective gear like masks, goggles, gloves and more to protect their workers.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a respiratory condition, including mesothelioma, lung cancer or silicosis, that may have been caused by their work, it’s wise to get legal guidance. This can help you deal the costs of medical treatment, lost wages and more.