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Topic: Engineered stone is dangerous for people and the planet

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Engineered stone is dangerous for people and the planet

With interest in stone-look benchtops skyrocketing over recent years, the industry has become awash with man-made options that resemble real stone for a cheaper price. The approach is simple: synthetic materials and factory machines pump out lookalike versions that are far more affordable and cheaper to create than the real deal. The catch? These fast designs pose serious risks to people and the planet.Get more news about artificial stone ingredients,you can vist our website!

Engineered stone is perhaps the most prevalent example of this. Despite its relative beauty, affordability, and durability, the dark underbelly of the industry leaves workers at risk of serious illness and puts overwhelming pressure on our environment. With engineered stone a popular option amongst consumers, it’s time we face the reality of what this means for the world around us and start opting for ‘slow design’ options that don’t weigh on our conscience.

What exactly is engineered stone and why do consumers choose it?

While natural stone is cut from a slab, engineered stone is a man-made composite material created by mixing finely crushed stone – usually crystalline quartz – with a polymer resin. The result is a slab that mimics the look of natural stone despite being factory-made.

As crystalline quartz is one of the hardest materials available, engineered stone is incredibly durable and non-porous. This along with its relative affordability in comparison to natural stone can make it a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops.

Weighing up the ethical and environmental impact

As the most common mineral in the earth’s crust, crystalline quartz is considered one of the most abundant resources in the world. Despite this, it still requires intensive mining in order to be used so heavily in engineered and natural stone.

Mining crystalline quartz, a process that is used for both engineered and some natural stone causes a long list of harmful and ecologically unsustainable consequences. This includes environmental degradation, extinction of species, destruction of natural landscapes, soil and groundwater contamination, and widespread pollution. While engineered and natural stone may look beautiful, the ecological consequences are ugly, with our planet bearing the brunt of these unsustainable and irresponsible practices.

In addition to the environmental impacts, the serious health risks associated with engineered stone should be treated with as much fear and concern as asbestos. Workers in this industry are being severely harmed by exposure to the silica dust generated from engineered stone, which can contain up to 95% crystalline silica.

The consequences of this exposure are simply unacceptable. Workers can develop life-long, debilitating health issues such as scarring of the lungs, breathing issues, lung cancer, and a serious condition called Progressive Massive Fibrosis (PMF). These health risks are posed to most workers within the fabrication, cutting, and installation process – accounting for thousands of people within Australia and countless worldwide.

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