Artificial stone used to make kitchen and bathroom countertops has been linked to cases of death and irreversible lung injury in workers who cut, grind, and polish this increasingly popular material. The fear is that thousands of workers in the United States who create countertops out of what’s known as "engineered stone" may be inhaling dangerous amounts of lung-damaging silica dust, because engineered stone is mostly made of the mineral silica. Jose Martinez, 37, worked for years as a polisher and cutter for a countertop company that sold engineered stone, as well as natural stone like marble. He says dust from cutting the slabs to order was everywhere. "If you go to the bathroom, it’s dust. When we go to take lunch, on the tables, it’s dust," he says. "Your nose, your ears, your hair, all your body, your clothes — everything. When you walk out of the shop, […]