Bunnings Warehouse has announced it won’t sell engineered stone from the end of the year after work health and safety experts called for a national ban last month.
Engineered stone has become a popular and more affordable alternative to natural stone (like marble or granite) in bathrooms and kitchens.
Exposure to dust from engineered stone can lead to silicosis – a lung disease estimated to have contributed to over 10,000 deaths globally.
Big retailers such as IKEA and Bunnings sell engineered stone.
When cut, drilled and polished, the dust particles it generates contain crystalline silica. This can cause irreversible damage to construction workers who come into contact with it.
A 2022 Curtin University study estimates more than 580,000 Australian workers have been exposed to silica dust.
Silica products like stone benches don’t pose a safety risk once installed.
Safe Work Australia, the public body responsible for work health and safety, recommended a national ban on engineered stone in October.
Today, Bunnings announced it will stop selling engineered stone by the end of the year. The retailer said it’s “working closely,” with suppliers and customers “to support them through the change”.
It comes ahead of a meeting of federal, state, and territory governments later this year. They’re expected to discuss banning the product.