This interactive Q&A session will focus on the discovery of significant silicosis among stonemasons exposed to engineered stone products. Epidemiological factors will be addressed, noting that these workers are generally young, and have been in the industry for relatively brief periods of time.
Major lessons are being learned in the evolution and progress of silicosis from this disease cluster. There is a range of clinical manifestations which will be discussed. However the clinical situation is compounded by the fact that the disease may be asymptomatic for long periods leading to more prolonged exposure which aggravates the underlying disease.
It appears that the Queensland experience is likely to be replicated in other Australian states and internationally. The observations and research being undertaken currently in Queensland is shaping the response to this disease syndrome globally. Likewise in terms of the legal position, Queensland is likely to lead the charge and will shape future claims, in particular, claims against manufacturers of engineered stone.
One of the major shortcomings in the current approach to this problem is the lack of any effective treatment intervention which can be offered to ameliorate disease progression.
This is a topic of international research interest with a global interest group mobilised.