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The deadly lung disease silicosis is on the rise in Victoria

Photo: Deadly lung disease on the rise in Vic
The deadly lung disease silicosis is on the rise, with 24 Victorian stonemasons diagnosed with the condition in recent months.

Victoria is seeing a "very disturbing" rise in the deadly lung disease silicosis, with 24 tradies diagnosed with the condition in recent months.

It comes after the state government banned dry-cutting and brought in free health screening for Victoria's 1400 stonemasons.

Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said the 24 stonemasons had been diagnosed with silicosis since the tests were announced in May.

"The results of those screenings are very, very disturbing," she told parliament on Wednesday.

Of the 349 workers who have signed up for the health checks, 69 have been referred for further testing.
"This is a terrifying illness," Ms Hennessy said.

Silicosis is caused when materials such as artificial stone benchtops are dry cut and workers inhale tiny particles of silica dust, leading to lung scarring and breathing difficulties.

A ban on dry-cutting in Victoria came into effect last week.

It came after state and federal workplace regulators in July agreed to reduce the national silica workplace exposure standard in a bid to better protect tradies.

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