Silicosis Among Stoneworkers in Queensland, Australia

In February, the Australian news agency ABC published information about silicosis among stoneworkers from an audit of the manufacturing stone industry in the state of Queensland. The audit was ordered by the Queensland government in 2018 following reports of six cases of terminal silicosis among stonemasons over a three-week period. Inspectors found violations including inappropriate workplace cleaning practices, dry-cutting of engineered stone, and inadequate protective equipment. Information about the audit from several sources appears below.
From “Australia Reports on Audit of Silicosis for Stonecutters” in The Lancet: “Stonemasons are exposed because crystalline silica is produced during the drilling and cutting of products such as manufactured stone, tiles, and bricks. In the past decade, there has been a huge growth in these products, driven by increased new home construction across Australia.”

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In August, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that a student intern and a researcher at Oak Ridge Associated Universities had devised an experiment to replicate the McCluskey incident in order to study the effects of radiation on the body. By irradiating vials of their own blood for different lengths of time, the researchers hope to generate data that clinicians and first responders can refer to following an exposure incident.

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