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Silicosis Lawsuit

Silicosis Lawsuit

Workers who manufacture or install stone countertops are at risk of silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can be deadly.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting silicosis induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with the lung disease silicosis after making or installing countertops, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Disease Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

What is the problem?

Millions of workers in the U.S. are at risk of a severe lung disease called silicosis as a result of breathing tiny particles of silica dust in the air. Every year, hundreds of people die of silicosis or complications.

Silica Concerns for Stone Countertop Manufacturing, Finishing, and In-Home Installation

In recent years, there has been a spike in silicosis disease among engineered stone fabrication workers — people who make, finish, and install quartz countertops, also known as “artificial stone” or “engineered stone.”

Unfortunately, these workers face a much higher risk of silicosis because engineered stone contains over 90% silica. This is significantly more silica than natural stones like marble (usually less than 10% silica), granite (45% silica), concrete, and other materials.

OSHA Issues Hazard Alert for the Stone Countertop Industry

In 2015, OSHA published a Hazard Alert for silicosis in workers who are exposed to silica during countertop manufacturing, as well as in-home finishing and installation. OSHA warned that many stone countertop businesses in the U.S. do not adequately protect their workers from silica dust.

Workers Dying of Silicosis After Making Kitchen Countertops

What is Silicosis?

Silicosis is one of the oldest-known occupational diseases, dating back to the term “potter’s rot” when it was a disease mostly seen among pottery workers who inhaled silica dust while mixing clay.

Silicosis is a progressive, irreversible, and incurable lung disease that is caused by breathing irritating particles of crystalline silica dust. These particles trigger lung inflammation and fibrosis. Silica dust is also classified as a carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).

Do You Make Quartz Countertops?

Today, silicosis is becoming more common in the U.S. due to the booming popularity of quartz countertops for kitchens and bathrooms.

Quart countertops are advertised as durable and stain-resistant. As the popularity has grown, thousands of businesses have sprung up to meet the demand from consumers. Unfortunately, not all of these businesses warn their employees about the risk of breathing silica dust, or provide adequate protective equipment to prevent silicosis.

Who Is At Risk?

Silicosis is a major risk for people who fabricate engineered stone or do in-home installations of countertops. The highest-risk workers are those who cut, grind, polish, or finish stone slabs. Silicosis can also occur in staff who sweep and clean up dust, inspectors, production operators, quality-control technicians, and other workers who breathe silica dust.

Types of Silicosis

  • Chronic silicosis: Occurs after 10 years or more of being exposed to low levels of silica dust. This is the most common type of silicosis.
  • Accelerated silicosis: Occurs after 5 to 10 years of exposure to moderate levels of silica dust.
  • Acute silicosis: Occurs after a few weeks or months of exposure to high levels of silica dust. Death occurs within months when the lungs drown in body fluids.

Warning Signs & Symptoms of Silicosis

There may be no symptoms of silicosis in the early stages. In fact, silicosis may go undetected for 15 to 20 years after exposure. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe cough
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Leg swelling
  • Bluish discoloration of the lips

Long-Term Complications of Silicosis

Silica exposure is also associated with an increased risk for other life-threatening lung diseases, such as:

  • Lung infections
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Lung cancer
  • Emphysema
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung transplant
  • Death

Is There a Cure for Silicosis?

No. Silicosis is an incurable and progressive disease, but it can be prevented with protective equipment. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms rather than curing the disease.

Are You Breathing Silica Dust?

If you do one of the following jobs, you are at risk for breathing silica dust, according to the CDC:

  • Stone fabrication
  • Countertop installation
  • Construction (sandblasting, etc.)
  • Highway and bridge construction and repair
  • Building construction, demolition, and repair
  • Abrasive blasting
  • Masonry work
  • Concrete finishing
  • Drywall finishing
  • Rock drilling
  • Mining
  • Sand and gravel screening
  • Rock crushing (for road base)
  • Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”)
  • Pottery production

Source: CDC: Silicosis – Learn the Facts!

Silicosis Lawsuit Ends in $7.6 Million Award for Sandblaster

In November 2009, the family of a former sandblaster who died of silicosis was awarded $7.6 million by a jury who agreed that he was not properly warned about the risks of breathing in silica dust on the job.

Silicosis Class Action Lawsuits

Lawyers are investigating claims from people who developed silicosis after manufacturing or installing countertops made of artificial stone. If a lawsuit is filed, workers could be entitled to compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost income, permanent injuries, and more.

Do I have a Silicosis Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting silicosis induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with the lung disease silicosis after making or installing countertops, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Disease Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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