Silica – LA County Supervisors Take Initial Step Toward A Ban On Artificial-Stone Countertops


June 16, 2023

Silica – LA County Supervisors Take Initial Step Toward A Ban On Artificial-Stone Countertops

Los Angeles county is ground zero for silicosis, a fatal disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust unleashed when the countertops are cut or ground. Public Health Watch, LAist and Univision first reported the existence of what’s believed to be the nation’s biggest cluster of the incurable illness in December. Last month, Public Health Watch reported that California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, had begun drafting an emergency silica rule and launched a special enforcement program in response to the outbreak.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion directing the county’s director of public health to report within 90 days “on the options to ban the sale, fabrication, and installation of silica fabricated stone in the County, including a plan to educate and advise businesses, with options for the use of other construction materials with less health risks to workers…”

Should a ban on artificial-stone — also known as engineered-stone — products be imposed, it would be the first in the United States.

Health Science Associates (HSA) can assist with assessing 8-hour time weighed average (TWA) worker exposures to determine whether those exposures are in compliance with the Cal/OSHA and Fed/OSHA respirable crystalline silica action level (AL) of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m³) and/or the silica permissible exposure limit (PEL) 9f 50 µg/m³.  Additionally, HSA can assist with the evaluation of engineering and work practice controls and provide recommendations to reduce and maintain employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica to below the AL and PEL, if necessary.  HSA can also prepare the required written respirable crystalline silica exposure control plan for your facility.

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