Skip to main content

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas Introduces Legislation to Protect Artificial Stone Fabrication Workers from Silicosis

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 3043 to protect artificial stone fabrication and countertop workers from contracting silicosis, a fatal lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a common mineral found in quartz, sand, and many other rock types.

AB 3043 requires the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to produce and maintain a public website of fabrication shops in California to track compliance with recently developed state standards. The State is required to evaluate whether or not industry regulation will effectively protect the health and safety of workers. Additionally, the bill creates statewide industry standards to prohibit the dry cutting of artificial stones, creates a licensure program for fabrication shops, and requires workers to undergo a training program.

"Latino workers are not expendable; 60% of the State's reported cases of silicosis are in the San Fernando Valley. Today, I introduced AB 3043 to ensure California is taking the necessary first steps to mitigate this global epidemic by prioritizing health and safety protection for workers," stated Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. "This bill requires the Department of Industry Relations to identify and track fabrication shops that are out of compliance with state regulations. We must hold fabrication shops accountable to protect workers by requiring a state license, banning dry cutting, and providing workers with proper education and training. The State will evaluate and provide a report on the enforceability and effectiveness of industry regulations."

The San Fernando Valley is a hub for the stone fabrication industry. Most of these fabrication shops produce artificial stone kitchen countertops. Artificial stone is dangerous due to its high silica concentration and harmful polymer resins, dyes, and other binding materials used to form a stone slab. Stone fabricators who cut, grind, polish, and drill these artificial stone slabs used for countertops are at the highest risk of contracting silicosis due to overexposure to high levels of silica.

The California Department of Public Health has identified approximately 95 countertop workers with silicosis. Between 2019 and 2022, 52 artificial stone workers were diagnosed with silicosis, 51 of whom were Latino immigrants. Twenty of the patients had advanced disease at diagnosis; ten have died; four workers received lung transplants, and five are still under evaluation. Their median age was 45, with an average work history of 15 years.


Assemblywoman Luz Rivas proudly represents the 43rd Assembly District, which includes the City of Los Angeles communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sun Valley, Sylmar, North Hollywood, Valley Glen, and the City of San Fernando.