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154301 - engineered stone fabrication work releases.pdf (370.35 kB)

Engineered stone fabrication work releases volatile organic compounds classified as lung irritants

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 14:58 authored by Ramkissoon, C, Gaskin, S, Hall, T, Pisaniello, D, Graeme ZoskyGraeme Zosky
Engineered stones are often characterized for their crystalline silica content. Their organic composition, particularly that of the emissions generated during fabrication work using hand-held power tools, is relatively unexplored. We forensically screened the emissions from dry-cutting 12 engineered stone products in a test chamber for their organic composition by pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) plus selected traditional capture and analysis techniques. Phthalic anhydride, which has a Respiratory Sensitization (RSEN) Notation by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), was the most common and abundant compound, at 26-85% of the total organic composition of engineered stone emissions. Benzaldehyde and styrene were also present in all twelve samples. During active cutting, the predominant volatile organic compound (VOC) emitted was styrene, with phthalic anhydride, benzene, ethylbenzene, and toluene also detected. These results have important health implications as styrene and phthalic anhydride are irritants to the respiratory tract. This study suggests a risk of concurrent exposure to high levels of respirable crystalline silica and organic lung irritants during engineered stone fabrication work.


Publication title

Annals of Work Exposures and Health






Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Oxford University Press

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2022. The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Prevention of human diseases and conditions

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