Board Approves Funding for Expanded Silicosis Prevention Education & Supports New State Regulations

Board Approves Funding for Expanded Silicosis Prevention Education & Supports New State Regulations 1024 888 Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath


December 19, 2023

Los Angeles, CAToday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Chair Lindsey P. Horvath’s second motion to address the incurable—yet preventable—lung disease, silicosis. The motion renews and increases funding for silicosis prevention, education, and outreach for 2024, and expands countywide.

The motion comes after last week’s news that the country of Australia outlawed manufactured silica stone, and the State of California introduced new Emergency Temporary Standards through Cal/OSHA to better protect vulnerable workers, largely young Latino men in the northeast San Fernando Valley. Now, Los Angeles County is poised to expand education and outreach countywide to prevent vulnerable workers from contracting silicosis, and to ensure that stone manufacturing businesses are equipped to offer appropriate protection.

“LA County is leading locally on silicosis with proactive outreach, education, and resources for workers and businesses, while also advocating for regulations that will have the broadest impact,” said Chair Lindsey P. Horvath. “Too many young Latino men in my district who have families and their lives ahead of them are being delivered a life-ending diagnosis due to toxic silica dust. Since our motion in June, the state has stepped up with new standards and increased enforcement—essential steps to addressing this crisis. Today, we amplify and enhance our work on the ground and in our Capitol.” 

Through the motion: 

  • The Department of Public Health will allocate $500,000 for the next year (with an opportunity to renew for one year) to silicosis education, prevention, and outreach through $500,000 of Tobacco Settlement funds. Outreach will continue in the northeast San Fernando Valley and will expand countywide.  
  • The County will continue to advocate in support of proposals at the State and Federal levels that strengthen regulatory standards and enhance resources for enforcement and compliance.  
  • The Director of Economic Opportunity will convene representatives from the DPH, Pacoima Beautiful, the Western States Regional Council of Carpenters, the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, relevant LA County America’s Job Centers of California, Industry trade groups, and other relevant stakeholders, to discuss and coordinate additional outreach strategies to stone fabrication businesses and provide small business resources, as well as learn about what barriers exist that are preventing compliance with required safety protocols and use of personal protective equipment. 

Review the full motion here.  

 About Silicosis 

Silicosis is an occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of respirable crystalline silica (RCS).  Most stone contains silica, however, engineered stone imported and sold in the US today may contain as much as 95% silica. In comparison, granite contains about 50% silica or less, and natural stones such as marble can contain on average only 2% silica. 

 The disease typically takes 10 – 30 years to develop with the health effects of silica dust exposure including pulmonary diseases, respiratory failure, and in many cases, death.  There is no cure besides a lung transplant, which may only extend survival on average five years. According to the California Department of Public Health, as of December 13, 100 California employees in this industry have developed silicosis, four have received lung transplants, five are under evaluation for lung transplant, and ten have died.  


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