Herringbone petitions to take high-silica debate to Parliament

A Kent-based cabinet and furniture maker has launched a petition calling for the Government to consider a ban on high-silica engineered stone products in the UK.

The petition follows Herringbone’s decision last month to refuse the sale of high-silica stone products to its clients. The company said its decision has been informed by several recent developments, such as Australia’s decision to ban the sale of engineered stone surfaces, as well as reports linking respiratory illnesses to engineered stone fabrication.

Herringbone says it feels like it cannot achieve a high-silica product ban alone, so it has decided to establish the petition to take to parliament, to get the UK government to consider a ban.

Although Herringbone accepts that there is no danger to homeowners once high-silica stone products have been installed, it believes the material carries a risk when it is produced and cut by stonemasons.

William Durrant, owner of Herringbone, explained: “We are pleased to have started a conversation in our industry and want to thank everyone for their support so far. We are aware that regulations are in place, however, we see no place for high-silica engineered quartz when so many other alternatives are readily available.

“By taking the petition to parliament we hope that we can make further impact and help make all stonemasons, fitters and people exposed to high-silica dust particles safe.”  

Herringbone also has the support of Dr. Carl Reynolds, consultant in respiratory and acute medicine at Imperial College in London, who said: “Silicosis is a devastating, incurable, and entirely preventable disease. It kills and causes serious disability in people of working age. The global artificial stone silicosis outbreak is a tragedy. I can see no justification for artificial high-silica stone use in the UK and fully support a ban.” 

Herringbone’s petition is accepting signatures until September 24, 2024. At the time of writing, it currently has over 40 signatures. By law, the Government responds to any UK petition that reaches at least 10,000 signatures.

In related news, Wilsonart-owned quartz specialist Technistone recently committed to stop supplying materials to fabricators that “dry cut” their stone slabs, to ensure safety for stone workers.

Following the Australian government’s decision last year, Caesarstone released a business update stating its belief that “the products are safe to fabricate under safe working practices”. Similarly, the UK’s Worktop Fabricators Federation (WFF) outlined its stance that there is no need for a total ban on quartz surfaces, and that rigorous safety and best practice regulations are the best way to handle any risks they pose.

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