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Concern about recent cases of silicosis

'A safe working environment is of great importance, we take all necessary precautions'

Recent cases of silicosis are occurring in men working with quartz composite countertops in Belgium. Silicosis, caused by inhaling quartz dust while processing the popular kitchen countertops, is reappearing in a new form and raising concerns. This was mentioned by Het Financieel Dagblad. In Australia, California, Israel, and Spain, it has been established that a significant number of countertop workers are ill from silicosis. In the Netherlands however, there has been little targeted research. Calls are being made for stricter regulations and awareness in the industry to reduce the risks of quartz dust.

In the Netherlands, Dekker Group produces countertops from high-quality materials. The company also processes composite that contains quartz, between 10% and 90%. According to the company's management, the attention to the subject is good: 'Dekker Group considers it of the utmost importance to let its employees work safely. Protection against the possible risks of quartz dust is part of this. We do this mainly by working with a lot of water during all processes (sawing, water jetting, milling, and polishing), which as much as possible directly discharges dust with the process water.'

'Since the custom countertop is already made to measure, there is rarely a need to saw or drill during installation in the kitchen. If workers still need to saw on site, we use dust extraction with a HEPA filter in addition to respiratory protection in the form of FFP3 class dust masks. We regularly have external, independent checks carried out by an occupational hygienist in accordance with the NEN EN 689 standards. With this, we test the results of all these precautionary and protective measures.'

Quartz is one of the most common minerals in the world and is also called silica. Quartz particles are about 100 times smaller than sand grains and are found in sand and almost all natural rocks. Worldwide, it is therefore used in an enormous number of industries and products, such as concrete, sand-lime brick, bricks, and composite.

'A safe working environment is of great importance and we take all necessary precautions to create this and to inform our customers about the responsible processing of our products', concludes Dekker.

More information:
Dekker Zevenhuizen
[email protected]

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