Kitchen company drops engineered stone

Herringbone owners William Durrant and Elly Simmons outside their shop in Canterbury

Concern over the silica content of engineered quartz has prompted the material to be banned in Australia.

Canterbury-based kitchen fitter Herringbone has now followed the Australian line and is thought to be the first UK kitchen company to stop selling the material.

Silica is naturally occurring in stone such as granite and marble at between 5% and 40%, but in engineered quartz – currently the dominant product for kitchen and bathroom worktops – it can be as high as 97%.

While there appears to be no risks to clients or installers of this material, the risk comes when it is produced and cut by stonemasons, with the resulting silica dust causing the lung disease silicosis.

Related Information

Australia is implementing a ban on engineered stone following campaigning by the Construction, Forestry & Maritime Employees Union and others. [See previous report here.]

William Durrant, owner of Herringbone, said: “Our priority is to keep our staff, suppliers and clients safe and so we will no longer be offering high-silica quartz options to new clients. Our stonemasons are confident that they have the strongest health and safety measures in place to protect their team and use water cutting to ensure this is safely done in their factory. However, for us these risks are not necessary when there are alternatives on the market.

“We apologise to our clients that this is quite a big change for us in a short period of time, however, we wanted to act quickly to prevent anyone from being harmed. We are the first company in the UK that we know of to ban the sale of high-silica quartz, but we hope that more companies follow suit in the coming months. We hope you can understand why we made this decision and can stand behind us in working to keep the industry safe and accountable.”

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