Our Natural Vein collection employs advanced technology to create a stunningly natural appearance. Using porcelain tiles on any given surface has significant benefits compared to natural stone and other surface products. At Kaolin, we have developed the most realistic reproduction of rare marbles and precious stones. And now Natural Vein products are one step closer to perfection, providing a seamless blend of luxury and durability.
The stone industry has been under scrutiny due to serious health risks associated with natural and engineered stone containing high levels of crystalline silica. Recent reports have raised concerns over the dangers of silica dust exposure, which can cause severe lung conditions, including lung cancer. It is alarming to note that engineered stone products can contain up to 97% crystalline silica.
As the manufacturers of our natural vein range, we take any health concerns very seriously and anyone working with our product has up-to-date information regarding safety. That’s why we submitted our porcelain Natural Vein collection to be tested here in Australia, and it has emerged as a safer choice with only 16% crystalline silica content. Offering a healthier, safer, and sustainable option for both workers and consumers alike, providing peace of mind for all.
How does this compare to natural stone? There is a common misconception that crystalline silica is only found in man-made products. However, it can also be found in natural stone such as Calacatta or Carrara marble, although in much lower levels. Most stones sold that present a wide range of patterns and colors are quartzite. It is important to note that these stones harbor an extremely high crystalline Silica content, which can go up to 97% in its natural form. To ensure accuracy, it’s crucial to request certification from your supplier rather than relying solely on their word. Keep in mind that there are two types of crystalline silica – Alpha-Quartz and Cristobalite. Obtaining only one certificate will provide incomplete information.
What is crystalline silica?
Crystalline silica is a naturally occurring mineral found in most rocks, sand, clay; and in products such as bricks, concrete, tile and composite stone. An initial list of 100 priority chemicals was developed based on national and international sources. Crystalline Silica ranked second.
How can crystalline silica harm workers?
Very fine particles of crystalline silica dust present a hazard when inhaled into the lungs. Airborne dust is most likely to occur when materials or products containing silica in the workplace are cut, sanded, drilled or any other job which creates fine dust. Depending on factors such as how much dust a worker breathes in and for how long, crystalline silica can cause the following health effects:
silicosis – a scarring of the lung which can result in a severe shortness of breath and is not reversible. Severe cases can result in complications leading to death
Applying adequate controls such as minimising the generation of airborne dust can reduce hazardous exposures and prevent illness in the workplace.
How to protect yourself and workers
- Eliminate tasks that generate dust where possible.
- Apply water suppression systems to reduce dust generation.
- Use local exhaust ventilation systems to capture and remove dust at the source.
- Use dust capture systems on portable tools
- Use well maintained and appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g. – respirators).
- Instruct and train workers in the correct fitting, use and maintenance of respirators.
- Avoid using compressed air to remove or clean settled dust.
- Follow instructions and controls outlined in safety data sheets and product labels.
Where is crystalline silica used?
Crystalline silica is a very common mineral used in manufacturing building products and construction materials. Engineered materials containing silica, such as composite stone, are used to fabricate kitchen benches and countertops. Workers can come across crystalline silica when undertaking construction works that require excavation or tunnelling through quartz containing rocks such as shale and sandstone.