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Assemblywoman Luz Rivas Holds AB 3043, The Silicosis Prevention Act

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley) held Assembly Bill (AB) 3043, the Silicosis Prevention Act, today. This legislation was introduced to protect workers in the manufactured stone fabrication and countertop industry from contracting silicosis, a fatal lung disease caused by inhalation in silica dust from cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing these manufactured stone slabs.

AB 3043 would have required the State to create a public website of fabrication shops operating in California to track their compliance with recently developed state regulations. This bill sought to create a statewide industry standard to prohibit the dry cutting of manufactured stones, establish a licensure system for fabrication shops, and require workers to undergo silica safety training.

“I have decided to hold AB 3043, which I introduced to protect workers from contracting silicosis. I want to be clear - Latino workers are not expendable. Numerous news outlets have recently reported a significant increase in silicosis cases in the San Fernando Valley among the manufactured stone countertop industry. When I introduced AB 3043 in February, 95 silicosis cases had been reported in California, and 60% of these cases were in my district. Between 2019 and 2022, 52 manufactured stone workers were diagnosed with silicosis, 51 of whom were Latino immigrants. Twenty of these patients had advanced stages of silicosis, ten individuals died, four workers received lung transplants, and five were under evaluation.

Through the creation of a tracking system, we sought to ensure compliance with recently promulgated regulations from the Department of Industrial Relations. However, following multiple efforts to work with our state regulators, it is clear that they are not receptive to creating a tracking system to identify licensed fabrication shops purchasing products from stone manufacturers and distributors that would protect these workers.

While community outreach to educate employees on their rights is important, it is insufficient as the sole mechanism to safeguard workers from contracting silicosis where they are most likely to contract it – their work. My legislation would have guaranteed compliance by only providing manufactured stone to licensed fabrication shops that train workers on safe cutting methods and enforce worker protections.

Therefore, I have made the tough decision to pull my bill so that future legislators can continue to monitor the effectiveness of these regulations. I will personally work with federal, state, and local offices to guarantee that any future permanent regulations are the toughest possible to protect the health and safety of our workers.

Over the last year, my team has done a fantastic job building a coalition of industry, labor, and health rights advocates in support of this legislation. I want to thank my Chief of Staff, Matthew Montgomery, and Legislative Director, Judy Yee, for their hard work, and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California for their steadfast support of workers' rights and for sponsoring this legislation. Additionally, I would like to thank the Silica Safety Coalition and the stone producers for their willingness to self-fund a tracking system to weed out bad actors.

I hope the state’s outreach efforts are robust and effectively track fabrication shops that attempt to avoid complying with regulations by simply relocating throughout California,” stated Assemblywoman Luz Rivas.

“We are disappointed that AB 3043 will not have the opportunity to do what it was designed to do: save lives. The fact remains that workers engaged in the fabrication and cutting of engineered stone are dying from the devastating effects of silica exposure. The State Building Trades is committed to improving safety standards in this industry and in the construction industry overall to protect workers from unnecessary pain and suffering," said Chris Hannan, President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council. "We are grateful to Assemblymember Luz Rivas for her work on this important issue."

“Preventing silicosis and protecting workers is a high priority of the stone manufacturing, distribution, and fabrication industry. Our industry is strong and economically thriving when our workers are valued and protected. It is for those reasons, that we are most appreciative of Assemblymember Luz Rivas’ efforts this year to work with the industry in advancing AB 3043 to develop a strong statutory framework to protect workers in the countertop fabrication industry. While AB 3043 will fall short of the finish line this year, the efforts, partnership, and collaboration won’t be lost as we collectively continue to look for opportunities to support the industry in a way that protects our valued workers. There is simply too much at stake to not re-double these efforts in the coming months,” stated the Silica Safety Coalition.

“I would also like to extend my deepest appreciation to Congressmember Tony Cardenas, American Lung Association of California, California Labor Federation, City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisor, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Dr. Jane Fazio, and the Western Occupational & Environmental Medical Association for their unwavering commitment to protecting workers and saving lives,” stated the Assemblywoman Luz Rivas.


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.