In a significant health and safety development, Australia has announced a ban on engineered stone, also known as composite stone, effective from July 1, 2024. This decision underscores a growing concern over the health risks associated with this material, particularly focusing on the danger of silicosis. Silicosis, a severe lung disease, is primarily contracted by workers who are exposed to crystalline silica dust. This dust is a byproduct of cutting and installing engineered stone, a process commonly involving tools like circular saws.
Engineered stone, despite its aesthetic appeal and durability, has become a contentious topic due to its link with a rising number of silicosis cases. This disease has been alarmingly prevalent, especially among young workers in the industry. The concern is not with the stone itself when installed and used normally; the health hazard emerges specifically from the fine dust generated during its manipulation and installation.
The Australian ban on engineered stone is not just a local issue but is sparking a global reassessment of the use of materials that pose health risks to workers. It is important to note, however, that there is currently no information on whether countries like Singapore will follow Australia's lead and implement a similar ban.
We will keep a close watch on regulatory developments in Singapore regarding engineered stone. In the meantime, we recommend transitioning to alternative materials that are readily available and pose fewer health risks to workers.