Workers in California, particularly Latino immigrants, who cut and polish engineered stone countertops face an epidemic of silicosis 

Unlike the typical age range for silicosis, this new wave of the disease affects workers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, and some have even died in their 30s, leaving them with terminal diagnoses 

Many of these workers lack proper protection against dangerous dust, with inadequate masks and insufficient dust-suppression measures in place 

Workers diagnosed with silicosis face a bleak future, with lung transplants as their only option, and even those are not guaranteed to provide a long-term solution 

Many workers are unaware of the risks associated with silicosis, making outreach and education crucial 

Silicosis is preventable, but measures such as wet saws, ventilation systems, and NIOSH-approved respirators are necessary to safeguard workers 

Studies suggest that up to 1 in 5 stone workers may have silicosis, and estimates in California indicate that hundreds could be affected, with potential fatalities 

The disease is often misdiagnosed as bacterial pneumonia or tuberculosis, leading to delays in treatment 

Los Angeles County is a hotspot for silicosis cases, with a high concentration of countertop workers