From July 1, the manufacture, sale, and installation of engineered stone is banned in Australia. 

The move aims to address the alarming rise in cases of silicosis and lung cancer linked to crystalline silica dust, a byproduct of cutting, grinding, and polishing engineered stone. 

This material, commonly used for kitchen benchtops, has been found to contain high levels of silica, making it particularly hazardous for workers.

The ban is being enforced differently across the states. 

Queensland and Victoria will see an immediate halt to all engineered stone activities starting July 1. Other regions like New South Wales and South Australia will adopt a transitional period until the end of the year, allowing the completion of existing contracts. 

Stringent regulations targeting all crystalline silica products will come into effect on September 1.

Despite the ban, experts warn that silicosis cases will continue to emerge for years, as symptoms can take years to develop. 

The construction industry is bracing for the impact of the ban. Unions have been vocal about the necessity of the ban, but CFMEU national secretary Zach Smith has raised concerns about potential loopholes, warning that companies might rebrand dangerous products to bypass regulations.

As the ban on engineered stone takes effect, consumers and tradespeople are exploring safer alternatives for kitchen benchtops.