CHANGES TO ENGINEERED STONE WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
On the 13th of December 2023 all Australian State and Territory Ministers voted in support of implementing a ban on the use, manufacture and importation of engineered stone in Australia. This followed a report that recommended the ban on engineered stone due to the rise, risk and occurrence of silicosis from tradespeople within the stone industry when cutting the product and not using PPE or following correct health and safety guidelines. In the communication handed down by Ministers on Wednesday the 13th December, it stated that the ban on installing, selling or importing engineered stone would be in place from 1 July 2024. Until then it is business as usual for retailers, suppliers and trades who can continue to use, install, import and sell engineered stone. Though from July 1 this must cease immediately. This change means that you will need to have your new stone top installed in your property before July 1.
WHAT IS SILICA AND SILICOSIS:
Silica dust (crystalline silica) can be found in some stone, rock, sand, gravel and clay. The most common form is quartz. Silica dust can also be found in bricks, tiles, concrete and some plastic materials. When these materials are worked on, silica is released as a fine dust known as respirable crystalline silica or silica dust. Long-term inhalation can cause silicosis. Silicosis is a long-term lung disease caused by inhaling unsafe levels of silica dust, usually over many years. People who work with certain materials may inhale a very fine dust that contains silica. Once inside the lungs, the dust particles can scar the lungs. This scarring is known as silicosis.
ARE OUR STONE TOPS SAFE?:
Engineered stone is and always will be a safe product to have in your home, property or business. The issue of silicosis and breathing difficulties arises from the cutting of engineered stone in an unsafe manner when trades or consumers are not wearing PPE or following safety guidelines. Remember, the issues only arise when the dust is inhaled from being cut or drilled into not from the product simply being in your home. Highgrove Bathrooms also offers many precut stone options. Our pre-cut stone has holes pre-drilled for a tap and waste along with options for curved vanities. This stone means you will not need a trade to cut any further holes in the stone. It’s also important to remember that plenty of tradespeople and businesses within Australia follow correct safety guidelines and cut engineered stone safely. We can also put you in touch with a network of trades within your area that can assist with the safe customisation of your stone top.
Highgrove Bathrooms customers will have until July 1 to purchase and install their new stone tops. Please speak with the team in your local store to secure your new stone top and ask about some recommended trades that you can use if required.