Authored By: Candace Whitman
Engineered Quartz countertops have become very popular for people who want more durable and stain-resistant countertops that look like marble and granite; however, according to Nell Greenfieldboyce, science correspondent for NPR, they have proven to be extremely dangerous for the workers who make them.
The silica dust that is released during the process of making the countertops can cause severe damage to the lungs and can even lead to death.
NPR interviewed a man named Juan who made countertops for over 5 years whose health has been severely affected by the dust that he encountered on the job. He has extreme difficulty with many everyday tasks and is being evaluated for a lung transplant as a result. He told NPR that he was not made aware of the dangers and only wore a simple face mask while working.
NPR reports that things like wet cutting, which is the process of wetting the blade to reduce dust, outfitting workers with respirators, and using vacuums within machines can make employees safe from exposure, but not every company that makes the countertops is taking all the necessary precautions. Many companies are not inspected by the government to ensure they are taking proper precautions.
To read more about the dangers of the engineered quartz industry, click here and here to read Greenfieldboyce’s articles on the subject for NPR.
Photo Credit: Dmitry Kalinovsky