The Greens have called for a ban on manufactured stone to prevent more workers dying from silicosis.
Today the NSW Parliament will debate a motion brought on by Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge to ban the use of manufactured stone.
The motion (attached) follows evidence heard by the Law and Justice Committee in Parliament last week that there is no safe exposure level to silica dust created by cutting manufactured stone.
Manufactured stone was first used in Australia in 2001. It is an imported building product from silica aggregate and resin and is most often used in kitchen bench tops and commercial and retailed finishes.
Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge said:
“The NSW Parliament heard evidence from Dr Chris Colquhoun the Chief Medical Officer of Icare, that any time you are cutting manufactured stone you have to make the assumption that if you breathe the stuff in you are going to die”.
“Parliament will be negligent in its duties to the people of NSW if does not act.
“Dr Graeme Edwards from The Royal Australasian College of Physicians gave evidence that silicosis is worse than asbestos, we heard evidence from a Doctor whose youngest patient is 23.
“Silicosis is killing workers with young families, affecting people whose entire lives should be ahead of them.
“According to Icare, there were 40 cases of silicosis reported in NSW in 2018-19, up from 8 the previous financial year and this figure almost certainly underestimates the number of cases.
“There are thousands of workers in the manufactured stone industry in NSW, all of who are exposed to silica dust, often at appalling high levels.
“We cannot afford to wait any longer we must act now to prevent further deaths and ban cutting manufactured stone.
“All political parties should put the lives of workers above the demand for shiny bench-tops and support our call to ban manufactured stone products”, Mr Shoebridge said.