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silicosis

The Cambria factory in Minnesota manufactures slabs of engineered quartz for kitchen and bathroom countertops. If businesses don't follow worker protection rules, cutting these slabs to fit customers' kitchens can release lung-damaging silica dust. Cambria hide caption

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Cambria

'There's No Good Dust': What Happens After Quartz Countertops Leave The Factory

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Samples of Silestone, a countertop material made of quartz. Cutting the material releases dangerous silica dust that can damage people's lungs if the exposure to the dust is not properly controlled. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Catie Dull/NPR

'It's Going To Get Worse': How U.S. Countertop Workers Started Getting Sick

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A worker cuts black granite to make a countertop. Though granite, marble and "engineered stone" all can produce harmful silica dust when cut, ground or polished, the artificial stone typically contains much more silica, says a CDC researcher tracking cases of silicosis. danishkhan/Getty Images hide caption

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danishkhan/Getty Images

Workers Are Falling Ill, Even Dying, After Making Kitchen Countertops

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Francescangeli says boys sometimes work long hours and are often tasked with pushing carts to move rocks out of the mines. "Being a child in these places is really hard," he says. "If they have some time to spend in a free way, they like to be children. But their life doesn't permit them to be children so often." Simone Francescangeli hide caption

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Simone Francescangeli

A worker in Claysville, Pa., shovels the fine powder that's part of a watery mixture used in hydraulic fracturing. Silica dust is created in a wide variety of construction and manufacturing industries, too. Keith Srakocic/AP hide caption

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Keith Srakocic/AP

Tighter, Controversial Silica Rules Aimed At Saving Workers' Lungs

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