Skip to content
Industrial Relations, Medical Health Aged Care

Monash Experts: Possible engineered stone ban

Monash University 3 mins read

A decision could be made today on whether Australia will be the first country in the world to ban engineered stone due to the risk of silicosis to workers, during a meeting of work, health and safety ministers. 


Silicosis is a preventable ‘occupational lung disease’ that is caused by breathing crystalline silica dust, causing lung inflammation and fibrosis. There is no cure. 


Available to comment: 


Associate Professor Jane Bourke, Head of Respiratory Pharmacology, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, and Fellow of the The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Contact details: +61 3 9903 4840 or  

Twitter/X: @jane_bourke_phd
Read more of Associate Professor Bourke’s commentary at Monash Lens, read more about her achievements on Monash News and visit the Bourke Lab website for more information about her research.


  • More than 20 years’ research on finding new treatments for chronic lung diseases
  • Her current project leading a research program into “Establishing a novel human model for anti-fibrotic drug screening in silicosis” is funded by the Dust Diseases Board/iCARE NSW

The following can be attributed to Associate Professor Bourke:

“Advocacy for the banning of engineered stone from all health sectors, including clinicians and medical researchers from Monash University, is based on unequivocal evidence that there is no safe level of exposure to silica dust – it’s taken too long for this action to be taken to protect workers from silicosis.


“Ongoing monitoring of the estimated 10,000 Australians currently in the engineered stone workforce will still be required as more cases emerge due to prior exposure to this dangerous dust. 


“For the hundreds of workers already diagnosed with this totally preventable but currently incurable disease, a ban would come too late – but at least further cases may be reduced or prevented.


“Engineered stone benchtops have become so popular in Australia, it’s critical that we take the lead with a world-first ban. We must value lives ahead of industry profits as we continue our research to understand how this devastating disease damages the lungs and try to find effective treatments for those already affected.” 


Dr Ryan Hoy, Respiratory and sleep physician and Senior Research Fellow at the Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, within the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

Contact +61 3 9903 4840 or

Read more of Dr Hoy’s commentary at Monash Lens 


  • More than 15 years experience treating patients with occupational lung disease. 
  • Head of the Occupational Respiratory Clinic at the Alfred Hospital
  • Chief investigator of the world’s largest study of stone benchtop industry workers, which has identified that 117 out of 414 (28.2 per cent) of Victorian stone benchtop industry workers screened by CT have silicosis.  

The following can be attributed to Dr Hoy:

“A decision by Australian governments to ban engineered stone would be a highly significant moment in the response to the worst outbreak of occupational lung disease in generations. Elimination of engineered stone is clearly the most effective means to protect workers in this industry.


“Over 600 Australian stone benchtop industry workers have already been diagnosed with silicosis, and due to high levels of silica exposure, thousands more will remain at risk of disease for decades to come. 


“Urgent government funding is required to provide free ongoing health monitoring for workers who have been exposed to dangerous levels of silica, and to find new effective treatments for silicosis. 


“No one should contract a disease from going to work. Over 600 workers with silicosis caused by working in the stone benchtop industry is completely unacceptable. Governments must learn from this avoidable epidemic of silicosis. We need to do much better to identify new and emerging hazards at workplaces before people become sick.”

For more Monash media stories visit our news & events site:
For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact the Monash University Media Unit on +61 3 9903 4840 or



More from this category

  • Building Construction, Industrial Relations
  • 14/07/2024
  • 21:18
Master Builders Australia

Master Builders statement on CFMEU investigation

The joint media investigation into the operations and underworld links within the CFMEU confirms what Master Builders has long known and called out – union representatives with a comprehensive disregard for the law and the industry it claims to represent. Governments cannot turn a blind eye to this abhorrent and alleged criminal behaviour that we have seen displayed over the past few days. Master Builders implores the Prime Minister and all state leaders to urgently explore all possible options to clean up this mess. Our recommendations for urgent action are as follows: Establishment of a cross-jurisdiction police strike force to…

  • Contains:
  • Government NSW, Medical Health Aged Care
  • 12/07/2024
  • 12:39
MEDIA RELEASE - Network of Alcohol & Other Drug Agencies


12 July 2024 The forthcoming NSW Drug Summit is an opportunity to shelve outdated drug policies that have failed to deliver better health andwellbeing outcomes for individuals and their families. That’s the verdict from the peak organisation for the non-government drug and alcohol sector in NSW, the Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA). NADA today welcomed the Government’s confirmation the NSW Drug Summit will be held over two days in regional NSW in October, and in Sydney on 4th and 5th December, as well as consultations about the Terms of Reference and other matters ahead of this. NADA…

  • Contains:
  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 12/07/2024
  • 09:00
National Hypertension Taskforce - Australian Cardiovascular Alliance and Hypertension Australia

Australian Hypertension Taskforce unveils Roadmap to transform high blood pressure control and reduce preventable deaths

Raised blood pressure (BP), also known as hypertension, is a ‘silent killer’ and the leading cause of death in Australia, where it contributes to more than 25,000 deaths each year. It is also the leading risk factor for death from stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, and dementia, yet 68% of Australians with hypertension are uncontrolled. In response to this pressing issue, a Call to Action was published in 2022, leading to the establishment of the National Hypertension Taskforce, launched by Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care. The National Hypertension Taskforce, led by the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance and…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.