Silicosis and Other Diseases Caused by Silica Dust Exposure

September 26, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Silicosis and Other Diseases Caused by Silica Dust Exposure

The increased popularity of engineered stone countertops has created a growing health crisis for the stone workers who cut these products. The silica dust particles released in this process have been linked to a host of health issues like silicosis among stone fabricators, many of which are life-threatening. As a result, many stone fabrication workers are now filing silicosis lawsuits against employers that failed to ensure reasonably safe working conditions.

If you have developed a disease related to silica dust exposure from working with engineered stone, you may be entitled to recover compensation in a stone worker silicosis lawsuit. At Dolman Law Group, we have protected and supported injured clients for years as they sought compensation for damages like medical expenses, pain and suffering, and reduced earning capacity. Reach out to our team at (866) 481-5430 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a capable silicosis attorney.

Stone Workers Seek Compensation for Silicosis Damages in Personal Injury Liability Claims

While the use of face masks and wet saws, in conjunction with proper ventilation, can help reduce the circulation of dangerous silica dust, most work sites do not operate under these conditions. In a survey of stone workers with illnesses related to silica dust exposure, significant percentages of workers did not use protective equipment or saws that lowered the amount of silica dust put into the air.

Given that engineered quartz countertops contain an unsafe concentration of silica, manufacturers and suppliers are potentially liable for the damages sustained by sick stone workers in product liability lawsuits. Employers who did not create adequately safe conditions or provide the appropriate protective gear may also face silicosis lawsuits from stone workers who have developed health issues related to silica dust exposure. 

Keep in mind that the signs of serious lung issues may not manifest for years, so stone workers should continue to carefully monitor themselves for signs of silicosis and other health conditions. If you did not discover your health problem until after the statute of limitations has expired in your state, you may still be able to seek compensation for your damages in a personal injury claim with the help of an experienced stone worker silicosis attorney.

Incurable Silicosis is On the Rise Among Stone Workers

Although it is more common for it to take decades of exposure to silica dust to accumulate at harmful levels, the stone workers involved in these claims are regularly exposed to higher levels of dust in the engineered stones they cut. As compared to natural stone slabs, factory-made crushed quartz stone countertops contain a higher concentration of the mineral silica. This has led stone workers to develop a disease known as silicosis. 

Continued or high-level exposure to crystalline silica dust eventually results in fibrosis, or the scarring of the lung tissue. Once the lungs develop patches of rigid tissue and scars, it can become difficult to breathe. Stone workers with silicosis have reported struggling to walk normal distances, climb stairs, and keep up with the demands of regular life, let alone return to the workforce. Silicosis is irreversible, and a lung transplant can only extend a patient’s life by a matter of 5 to 10 years in most cases. Common symptoms of silicosis include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Discolored lips
  • Persistent cough
  • Weakness and fatigue

Silica Dust Has Been Linked to Lung Cancer and Infections

Prolonged or heavy exposure to crystalline silica dust is known to cause lung cancer. The carcinogens present in engineered stone can lead to uncontrollable cell growth in the lungs, and the unhealthy cells eventually drain resources from the healthy cells, compromising function. Stone workers with lung cancer may experience issues common to silicosis but with the added symptoms of chest pain and coughing up blood. 

Treatment options usually include chemotherapy, radiation, and potentially a lung transplant, and are more likely to be effective when applied early. Silica dust can also lead to lung infections like tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that can usually be treated with antibiotics, provided it is caught early. It should still be taken seriously because most people in the U.S. are not vaccinated against tuberculosis, which is contagious and life-threatening. 

Stone Workers Are at Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD refers to a chronic, progressive lung disease where parts of the respiratory system become inflamed. For patients with COPD, this often manifests as a cough that doesn’t go away, breathing problems, and the accumulation of mucus. It is also associated with other serious health issues, like heart disease and lung cancer.

Treatment for COPD can range from inhalers, steroids, and antibiotics, to oxygen therapy, surgery, and even a holistic approach to alleviating symptoms. Stone workers can also reduce their risk of COPD by limiting other behaviors like smoking that are known to cause the condition. Lifespan can be significantly limited depending on the severity of the patient’s COPD.

Exposure to Silica Dust Particles Can Lead to Kidney Disease

It has long been known that heavy occupational exposure to the tiny particles of crystalline silica dust is associated with an increased risk of kidney disease. The kidneys are responsible for processing and filtering out waste from your blood, so the presence of toxins like crystalline silica can damage them or cause them to malfunction.

Chronic kidney disease has other implications for the body, including an increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, weakened bones, and nerve damage. Over time, the kidneys can cease to operate entirely, resulting in kidney failure. At that point, your treatment options are likely limited to dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Why Dolman Law Group is the Right Choice For Your Silicosis Lawsuit

Choosing a qualified, diligent personal injury lawyer to negotiate your engineered stone worker silicosis lawsuit can have a considerable impact on your ability to recover fair compensation for your damages. Our team at Dolman Law Group has repeatedly demonstrated our command of the nuances of personal injury law, familiarity with the dynamics of mass tort issues, and capacity to recover maximum compensation for our clients.

At Dolman Law Group, we can provide the attention you would expect from a smaller firm, will the degree of expertise and breadth of resources that a larger personal injury law firm could offer. We value the trust clients place in us, and strive to secure fair settlements for them. Our team of accomplished silicosis attorneys at Dolman Law Group is offering instrumental legal support to stone workers and their families. 

We understand that you may be navigating the loss of a source of income, the pressure of mounting medical bills, and having to reckon with the fact that the lung damage may prove fatal. With the benefit of our negotiating skills, legal knowledge, and advantageous resources, you can feel confident that your claim will have an increased likelihood of success.

Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Engineered Stone Worker Silicosis Lawsuit

The negligence of manufacturers, suppliers, and employers has jeopardized the health of stone fabricators who are working with engineered stone through their flawed design and lax safety practices. Workers who have been constantly exposed to unsafe levels of silica dust are susceptible to debilitating and potentially fatal illnesses like lung cancer, silicosis, and tuberculosis. 

Our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group can advocate for the compensation you deserve for your damages so that you can focus on treating your illness and spending time with your family. We believe that you should not have to struggle to afford medical bills, generate income, and endure painful and debilitating symptoms without proper financial compensation.

At Dolman Law Group, we are ready to negotiate your stone worker silicosis claim and hold the parties responsible for your illness accountable. Reach out to our team at (866) 481-5430 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your engineered stone worker silicosis claim with a highly qualified personal injury attorney.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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