One of the most beautiful things Mother Nature has created is natural stone. Countless incredible designs with fantastic colors and vibrant patterns. Used in residences and palaces alike, they are always the focal point. But in today’s homes, the popularity of “fake stones” is on the rise. And that is definitely not a good thing. These engineered contraptions are not created by our own planet but in factories. Unfortunately for the engineers, they don’t have superpowers like the Medusa, so they have to find other ways to recreate stones in their labs. Enter chemicals and other crap.

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As it is often the case with companies of this magnitude, health is not exactly their main concern. Engineered countertops – or fake stones – are filled up to 90% with silica. Siliwhat? Here’s the short explanation: silica is a mineral that is made out of sand, rock and quartz. That sounds like quite a healthy mixture, right? The people that suffer the most in the fake stone industry are the workers that install them. When the countertops are cut, silica particles are released into the air, which causes scarring in the lungs and that leads to tuberculosis, lung cancer and other problems with the respiratory system. Since the workers are not robots, they breath it in quite a substantial amount of this junk too. If you think of it, this sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it? Remember the silent workplace killer called Asbestos? Nowadays we are very well aware of the danger of Asbestos. We have warning signs hanging on older buildings to make it clear that we aren’t supposed to start tearing down walls or ripping out floors without the proper protection and permits. But where are the warning signs when you go buy a kitchen? I would suggest something in line with “DANGER: this countertop is a health hazard”.

This is in fact a global issue. From the US to Spain and South Africa to Israel, many workers have already been diagnosed with Silicosis – also called Grinder’s Asthma – and had to undergo extensive treatments and in some cases even lung transplants.
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When you decide to do some redecorating, don’t go for the fake junk but make the right and more importantly the healthy decision. In case you are worried about the price, natural stone is not necessarily more expensive and the possibilities are virtually endless thanks to some amazing craftsman. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to get caught buying Dolke & Gabbano or Harmani jeans made in sweatshops, so why buy fake stones? Go for the real deal: Mother Nature’s stones.