Countertop Workers at Risk of Silicosis Lung
Public health officials are sounding the alarm on a growing workplace danger — stone fabricators have been developing the lung disease silicosis at a frightening rate.
“Each year more than 300 U.S. workers die from silicosis and thousands more are diagnosed with the lung disease. It is frequently misdiagnosed, so actual numbers may be higher.”
– State of California Department of Industrial Relations
Workers can develop silicosis of the lungs by inhaling crystalline silica dust that arises when natural and engineered stone countertops are cut, drilled, chipped, and otherwise manipulated.
About 2.3 million American workers are exposed to the health hazard silica at work sites, according to the American Lung Association.
While natural stone like granite contains some silica, manufactured stone composed of quartz contains more than 90% crystalline silica.
The California Department of Industrial Relations says workers should look for these terms on Safety Data Sheets:
2023 Study Shows Dangers of Occupational Silica Dust
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in July 2023 looked at 52 California patients with silicosis from occupational exposure to silica dust from engineered stone.
Some of the results from that study are listed in the box below.
- The median age at diagnosis was 45.
- Almost all of the patients were male Latino immigrants.
- A delay in diagnosis occurred in 58% of the cases (misdiagnosed as pneumonia or tuberculosis).
- 38% of the patients had advanced disease at the time of diagnosis.
- 11 patients were referred for lung transplants.
- 10 of the patients died of silicosis.
Thankfully, workers who have been affected may be able to file a quartz countertops silicosis lawsuit and pursue compensation to help pay for their medical bills — and hold negligent product manufacturers accountable for the damage they’ve caused.
See if you qualify for a silicosis lawsuit. Get a free, no-obligation case review right now.
What Is Silicosis?
Silicosis is a lung disease caused by a mineral called silica. Workers who manufacture, finish, and install stone countertops may inhale silica dust when performing their jobs.
Once inside the lungs, the silica particles can cause inflammation and lead to a buildup of scar tissue, which can make it difficult to breathe.
“Silicosis is a type of pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a common mineral found in sand, quartz and many other types of rock. Silicosis mainly affects workers exposed to silica dust in jobs such as construction and mining.”
– American Lung Association
Silicosis lung disease is a progressive disease that typically takes 10-30 years after the initial exposure to develop. However, it’s possible for workers to develop silicosis after several months of heavy occupational exposure.
Other health conditions related to silica exposure include:
- Autoimmune disorders (lupus and scleroderma)
- Cardiovascular problems
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Connective tissue disease
- Histoplasmosis (fungal infection)
- Kidney disease
- Lung cancer
Symptoms of silicosis tend to start out mild and present as a cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically worsen as the disease progresses.
Common symptoms of silicosis include:
- A persistent cough
- Breathing problems
- Chest pain
- Leg swelling
- Lip discoloration
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
Cases of silicosis are often misdiagnosed as bronchitis and other types of lung diseases.
The American Lung Association recommends that all workers at risk of silica exposure get regular checkups and be monitored for signs of silicosis, even if they don’t have any symptoms of the lung disease.
Sadly, there is no cure for silicosis. However, treatments can help slow down the progression of this disease and relieve symptoms.
Silicosis treatment options include:
- A bronchodilator (inhaler) to relax airways
- Pulmonary rehabilitation (lung exercises)
- Supplemental oxygen
- Surgery (lung transplant)
People with silicosis should also avoid additional exposure to silica and other lung irritants like allergens and smoke.
Compensation from a silicosis lawsuit can help affected workers pay for medical treatments, lost wages, and more.
Reach out to one of our silicosis case managers right now at (888) 726-9160 to learn about your legal options.
Who Can File a Silicosis Lawsuit?
You may be able to file a silicosis lawsuit if you or a family member:
- Worked around silica or were otherwise exposed
- Later developed an illness related to silica dust exposure
Generally speaking, silicosis lawsuits are filed against the manufacturers of silica-containing countertop products. These product liability lawsuits allege that the manufacturers failed to warn of the health risks linked to their products.
In February 2023, the owner of Spanish kitchen countertop manufacturer Cosentino admitted to concealing the dangers related to its quartz-based product, Silestone. Silestone has allegedly caused about 1,900 workers to develop silicosis. The owner agreed to pay $1.2 million to five stonemasons who sued him for failing to warn of the risks.
Filing a Lawsuit for Silicosis Lung Disease
A silicosis lawyer is a personal injury lawyer who specializes in toxic exposure cases. They can file a lawsuit on behalf of stone countertop fabricators who developed silicosis or another health condition after exposure to silica dust.
A silicosis attorney can handle a silicosis lung cancer lawsuit from start to finish, making the process as easy and stress-free as possible.
A silicosis lawyer and their legal team can:
- Verify that you qualify for a silicosis lawsuit through a free case review.
- Collect evidence to build a solid case
- File a silicosis lawsuit before any deadlines
- Negotiate a silicosis lawsuit settlement with each responsible party
- Represent you in court, if a settlement can’t be reached
Silicosis lawsuits have strict deadlines called statutes of limitations that vary by state. A silicosis lawyer can let you know what the statute of limitations is in your case.
Once this deadline expires, you will not be able to file a claim for compensation.
Silicosis Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
Silicosis lawsuit settlement amounts are likely to be in line with settlement values in cases involving other types of toxic exposure.
In 2019, a $332 million settlement in a silicosis class action lawsuit was approved by the courts in South Africa. The suit was filed by gold miners impacted by the lung disease.
Asbestos cases settle on average for between $1 million and $1.4 million, according to legal reporter Mealey’s Asbestos.
In 2020, the maker of the weed killer Roundup® agreed to pay more than $11 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits.
Factors that may impact silicosis lawsuit settlement amounts include:
- Age of the worker
- Cost of past and future medical expenses
- Severity of the disease
- State in which the lawsuit is filed
A silicosis lawyer can review the facts of your case and provide you with a possible settlement range.
Chat with one of our caring case managers right now and see if you’re eligible to pursue a silicosis lawsuit settlement.
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Get Help With a Silicosis Disease Lawsuit
If you or a loved one worked with stone countertop products and later developed silicosis, you may be able to pursue compensation through a silicosis lawsuit.
Money from a successful silicosis claim can help you pay for treatments, take care of your family, and hold negligent manufacturers accountable.
The silicosis lawyers that LawFirm.com works with have recovered tens of millions of dollars for people injured by dangerous products.
Our legal partners:
- Can handle a case in all 50 states
- Have a track record of helping families win cases
- Never charge any upfront or out-of-pocket fees
Take the first step toward justice and financial relief now by getting a free case review.
Silicosis Lawsuits FAQs
What is the average payout for silicosis?
Some reported payout amounts for silicosis lawsuits include:
- $7.6 million verdict to a Mississippi sandblaster
- More than $1 million in settlement money to a California foundry worker
Asbestos cases, which are similar in nature, may also provide some clues on silicosis settlement values. Asbestos lawsuits settle for more than $1 million on average.
That said, compensation amounts are likely to vary depending on the specifics of the case. A silicosis lawyer can give you a better idea of how much your case may be worth and provide legal advice.
Can I get compensation for silicosis?
Yes, you may be able to get compensation for silicosis by filing a product liability lawsuit if you were exposed to silica while working on stone countertops.
Silicosis lawsuit cases allege that companies that produce engineered stone countertops failed to warn workers of the dangers of silica.
Can lungs recover from silicosis?
Sadly, the lung damage from silicosis can’t be reversed. However, there are treatments that can relieve symptoms and help improve a person’s quality of life.
How much silica dust causes silicosis?
In some cases, workers exposed to low levels of silica dust over a long period develop silicosis (chronic silicosis). However, new information is showing that workers exposed to high levels of silica dust for several months may also be at risk.
Employers are required to protect workers from being exposed to more than 50 micrograms of respirable silica per cubic meter of air (50 µg/m3) during an 8-hour work day, as per safety guidelines by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
How long can you live with silicosis?
People can live with silicosis for different lengths of time depending on how much lung damage has occurred. In severe cases, doctors may recommend a lung transplant to extend a person’s life.
Is there a silicosis class action lawsuit?
No, there is no silicosis class action lawsuit in the United States at this time, but affected individuals may be able to pursue individual personal injury lawsuits.
Contact our team right now for a free consultation.