The country’s peak body for public health welcomes the release today of a Safe Work Australia report that recommends a ban on engineered stone.
Adjunct Professor Terry Slevin, CEO, Public Health Association of Australia says that although industry has tried to argue against a ban, it is necessary because safe levels of silica in engineered stone cannot be determined.
“The move to ban this common and extremely harmful product, having a disproportionate and rapid impact on people working with the extreme levels of exposure to silica in engineered stone, is well overdue.
“In public health we often see push back from industry when there are proposals to regulate a product that is causing significant harm. Industries often claim that the proposal is not perfect, and argue that is a reason for inaction.
“In the interests of protecting industry profits, commercial entities opposing health regulation will condemn more workers who use their products to catastrophic respiratory health problems. Given what we know now, that is simply wrong.
“If we applied the logic of these industries, we would never have made the progress we have in reducing smoking, protecting ourselves from the sun to reduce skin cancer, or in advancing road safety.
“There is certainly more work to be done to reduce lung diseases, including cancer, resulting from exposure to silica.
“Silica exposure is a health risk for people who work in construction, mining, tunnelling, roadwork, and many other industries.
“We urge all Work Health and Safety Ministers to accept the Safe Work Australia recommendation and ban the use of engineered stone in Australia.”