Alliance urges New Zealand government to ban engineered stone

An alliance in New Zealand, which includes New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Construction Health and Safety New Zealand, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation and others has written an open letter calling on the government to introduce a ban on engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs.

The move follows the ban on engineered stone in Australia and was addressed to Brooke van Velden, Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety of the ACT New Zealand party. Author of the letter, Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) president Richard Wagstaff wrote:

"Engineered stone is a very harmful product. The dust from cutting, grinding or drilling engineered stone can lead to the occupational disease silicosis, a scarring of the lungs. There is no safe exposure to this silica dust. Silicosis is a debilitating disease for which there is no cure. It can be fatal. Unions, public health experts and health and safety specialists have continued to warn you about the harm caused by this product, and that a ban is necessary. Everyone in New Zealand has the right to expect a safe workplace and to be able to come home safely to their family at the end of the day. You can give working people and their whānau, as well as businesses, consumers and the wider public, the certainty that working people’s health is the priority. Occupational disease is the biggest killer of workers in New Zealand. A ban will save lives."

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