'My youngest patient is 23,' reveals doctor in midst of silicosis crisis

Rising numbers of patients threaten to overwhelm the lung transplant system, warns occupational physician

A Queensland doctor has raised the alarm about silicosis affecting stonemasons, saying the crisis threatens to overwhelm Australia’s lung transplant system.

At least 98 Queenslanders who work with engineered stone have developed silicosis, but Brisbane occupational physician Dr Graeme Edwards fears that is just the tip of the iceberg.

The ABC has obtained the results of a government audit of workshops that make engineered stone benchtops, revealing that 98 Queensland workers have the disease.

Workshops were issued with 552 breaches for unsafe practices, including dry cutting and inadequate protective equipment, with 10 businesses fined a total of $36,000 for not complying with improvement orders.

Fifteen of the people diagnosed with silicosis are considered to be terminally ill, and about 800 workers are undergoing testing at a cost of $1.5 million.

Dr Edwards is treating 22